Mum in Iran jail miss­ing her fam­ily

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

A MOTHER who has been locked up in one of Iran’s most no­to­ri­ous pris­ons on “se­cret charges” is miss­ing out on her daugh­ter grow­ing up, her fam­ily say.

Nazanin Zaghari-Rat­cliffe, 39, was jailed in April 2016 af­ter vis­it­ing her par­ents in Iran with her daugh­ter Gabriella.

The Bri­tish-Ira­nian cit­i­zen was sen­tenced to five years’ im­pris­on­ment in Evin Prison on charges which have not been made pub­lic and has been held as a po­lit­i­cal pris­oner ever since.

It has been claimed that the char­ity worker was ac­cused of plot­ting to top­ple the Ira­nian regime.

While her mother has been in prison, Gabriella, now three, has been liv­ing with Nazanin’s par­ents in Iran which has meant she has not seen her mother or her fa­ther Richard, who re­mains in the UK, for half of her life.

Nazanin’s sis­ter-in-law Re­becca Jones, who lives in Cardiff, said: “Gabriella is three now and she has grown up so quickly with­out her mother and fa­ther.

“Half of her life Gabriella has been away from her mum and dad. She’s started school with­out them, has been potty trained with­out them, and she now speaks Farsi and speaks lit­tle English.

“Nei­ther her mum or dad are her pri­mary care givers, it’s her grand­par­ents, and they’re both re­ally strug­gling with that.”

Re­becca said her sis­ter-in-law has been strug­gling with her men­tal health as a re­sult of her im­pris­on­ment and sep­a­ra­tion from her fam­ily.

Re­becca, a Cwm­bran based GP, said: “Phys­i­cally she’s feel­ing bet­ter, her shoul­der pain has eased off but now it’s more the de­pres­sion. The longer this goes on for, the worse it gets.

“She’s strug­gling quite a lot every time a new an­niver­sary comes up in the cal­en­dar – it hits home that she is miss­ing out on Gabriella and Richard’s lives.”

Last week, Nazanin’s hus­band Richard trav­elled to the UN in New York to at­tempt a meet­ing with the Ira­nian del­e­ga­tion and press his ap­pli­ca­tion for a visa to visit Iran.

The ap­pli­ca­tion has been pro­cess­ing for a num­ber of months and has pre­vented Richard from see­ing his wife and daugh­ter for 18 months.

Re­becca said: “Nazanin now sees Gabriella twice a week and also has reg­u­lar phone calls with Richard so we’re in a much bet­ter place than last year, but we’re still 18 months down the line and it doesn’t seem like it’s any closer to her free­dom.”

She said: “It’s hard for her to keep pos­i­tive and to keep her hopes up.”

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