A vigil for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe outside the Iranian embassy in London

Business as usual simply will not do.

Despite his personal agony over the past 18 months, Richard Ratcliffe has shown himself to be the epitome of bravery and dignity.

From the very first meeting at my constituency office, his determination to secure the release of his family was obvious and I’m sure second nature – but the energy in which he has brought the case to the public’s attention has been utterly inspiring. It is tempting to suggest that this week’s headlines are solely due to the travails of the Foreign Secretary, and damaging though his words have been, it is Richard’s persistence that has forced the Government to finally act.

With an apology from the Foreign Secretary finally on the record, now is the time to double down on the efforts to bring Nazanin home.

The FCO’s civil servants have worked hard to update Richard on their correspondence with Iranian counterparts, and while nobody is denying the practical challenges of freeing a dual national from a country that does not recognise dual nationality – the deterioration of Nazanin’s health and the ongoing abuses of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and their judiciary means that we have arrived at a point of no return. Standard consular relations, or business as usual, simply will not do.

That is why Richard and Redress – an NGO providing legal assistance to the family – are now calling for the Government to exercise diplomatic protection in Nazanin’s case. Diplomatic protection is a mechanism in which a State may secure reparations for the injury of one of its nationals when their human rights have been breached.

In Nazanin’s case, it is clear that her captors have violated her fundamental rights under both international and Iranian law. Sadly, the Government are yet to respond in a way that sufficiently reflects this.

The …read more

Source:: New Statesman

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