LAMPPOSTS in West Street and The Borough have been adorned with brightly coloured ribbon today, in solidarity with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is currently serving a five-year jail sentence in Iran for unknown charges.
Sunday, April 2 marked exactly a year since Nazanin – who holds dual nationality both British and Iranian, and has ties to Farnham via her husband Richard Ratcliffe – was taken into custody while on holiday in Iran.
At the time of the arrest the 38-year-old was visiting family with her and Richard’s two year old daughter Gabriella, but upon arrival at Tehran airport on April 3 to return to the UK, she was detained by authorities and taken to an unknown location in Kerman Province.
On the eve of the first anniversary of her detention, family, friends, neighbours and supporters came together in Fortune Green, West Hampstead to mark the sad occasion by tying yellow ribbons and ideas of freedom to a ‘One Day Tree’ for her in the park.
On Wednesday this week (April 12) this gesture was replicated in Farnham town centre, where Nazanin’s husband Richard spent his childhood.
Supporters have also been sending ideas of what they would do with ’one day of freedom’ since the beginning of Nowruz (Iranian New Year), to Nazanin’s family and friends to tie to the One Day Tree.
They also tied with ribbons some of the hopes and dreams of Nazanin and other women political prisoners in Evin prison, Iran.
This is part of a two-week campaign by the Free Nazanin Campaign group. Members will continue to collect these ideas and pictures into a book to show and inspire Nazanin (and the other prisoners) when she is released – a recipe book of days to try, and ways to rediscover life and all its maybes when freedom finally is returned.
Former Farnham school boy and wife to Nazanin, Richard Ratcliffe said: “It has been a long year of separation, a year of our lives interrupted. This anniversary I have been in reflective mood. I am grateful for the support of family and friends and neighbours, and for all those that work for Nazanin in different ways.
“There are many comments on our petition – wondering how any of us can contribute? Our family have many moments of powerlessness from the outside. I wanted to ask this anniversary for people’s help in rehabilitating us.
“Rather than feel sad for us this anniversary – please lend us your enthusiasms, your ‘happy to be alive’ days, your ideas for the one days to come. In the end, it will not be anger or sympathy we need, but renewal. One day it will come.”
The Free Nazanin Campaign continues to ask supporters to keep posting ideas of what they would do with one day of freedom via their Facebook page, the #FreeNazanin hashtag on Twitter or through the petition page at: https://www.change.org/p/free-nazanin-ratcliffe/u/19782824.