Summary: UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention demands release of British-Iranian national

13 October 2016: The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has called on Iran to immediately release and compensate Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian national held in Iran since 3 April 2016. SRT grantee Redress filed a claim with WGAD on Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s behalf in June 2016.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe visited her family in Tehran in March 2016 with her two-year-old daughter Gabriella. Iranian authorities arrested her at Tehran’s Khomeini Airport as she was about to return home to the UK. Since then she has been held in detention, spending at least 45 days in solitary confinement. Gabriella also remains in Iran with her grandparents, since the Iranian authorities confiscated her British passport. Last month Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in prison following a secret trial.

REDRESS’s complaint to WGAD argued that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention, separation from her daughter and subjection to incommunicado detention and solitary confinement breached of Articles 7, 9, 10, 14 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and constituted arbitrary detention and torture.

In its official Opinion adopted in August 2016, an advanced unedited version of which was released on 6 October 2016, WGAD asked Iran to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Ms Ratcliffe without delay”, and called for her immediate release and compensation. WGAD also urged Iran to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s arbitrary detention and to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of her rights. It referred the case to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

REDRESS’ Director Dr Carla Ferstman said, “We are delighted that the WGAD has sent a powerful and unequivocal message to Iran. We will be even more delighted when this young mother and her two-year-old child are back in Britain. […] The WGAD has made clear that Ms. Ratcliffe was discriminated against as a dual UK-Iranian national. The UK Government must act swiftly and with determination to address this injustice.”

Full coverage from REDRESS’s website:

Return to grantee stories