Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter, 4, tells pals she has ‘no family’ while mum held in prison

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter, 4, tells pals she has ‘no family’ while mum held in prison


NAZANIN Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s four-year-old daughter has told her friends she has “no family” in heartbreaking comments made while her mum is held in prison.

The British-Iranian charity worker has been languishing in a Tehran jail since she was accused of plotting to topple the Iranian government in April 2016.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe spent a few precious days with her daughter Gabriella last year before she was forced back into jail
PA:Press Association
Richard Ratcliffe is campaigning for his wife’s release in London… and can only see his daughter by Skype
AP:Associated Press

While husband Richard campaigns for her release in London, their daughter Gabriella lives full-time with her grandparents in Tehran.

There they managed to find one nursery willing to take her without Iranian identity documents.

“I don’t have any family,” she told classmates there, The Times reports. “My mummy is in prison, my daddy is in London.”

Gabriella is unable to remember a time when she lived with both of her parents together.

She has not seen her father in person for three years, though she talks to him every evening over Skype.

But Gabriella has nearly completely lost her English and, when they speak, they need a relative to translate their Farsi and English respectively.

I want to fly to London and get the money and bring it back so Mummy can be free


Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe, four

Her only remaining English words are “mummy”, “daddy”, “hello”, “cheers” and “I love you so much”.

Last year she was able to spend three whole days from her mum after she was temporarily released from jail.

They were inseparable during that time, sharing a bed every night, but the pain caused by Nazanin returning to jail was so great that the mum has vowed that she won’t repeat the experience unless she knows she’s not going back.

Now she visits her mum twice a week, every Wednesday and Sunday.

The tiny child is searched thoroughly every time she enters the jail. When she was younger, even her nappy was searched.

Even her Elsa Frozen doll, a gift from her British grandparents, has to remain in the car during her visits.

“My mummy doesn’t have a lot of books in prison,” she told The Times. Speaking after visiting her mum, she says: “I drew a picture of three people for her. Mummy, Daddy and me.”

On her visits she sits with her mum, often drawing. When she leaves, she calls “Goodbye Mummy, I love you”.

The thing I worry about the most with Gabriella is abandonment. Her life is about being separated from her parents. One day she will ask ‘why did they do that to me?’


Richard Ratcliffe

Gabriella, who can only write her Farsi name, is only too aware of her horrendous circumstances.

“I want to fly to London and get the money and bring it back so Mummy can be free,” she said.

Nazanin had been working in an admin role for the Thomson Reuters Foundation but had come to Iran to visit her family when she was arrested.

The charges were related to her previous employment at the BBC World Service that provided training to Iranian journalists.

She has now served more than half of her five-year sentence but an additional case relating to propaganda against the state remains open.

Husband Richard, an accountant who lives in North London, says he is worried about their daughter’s wellbeing.

And he believes it could have a negative impact on her to wrench her away from her grandparents, who have become her main carers.

Nazanin's horror ordeal

April 3, 2016 – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is arrested in Tehran after visiting family and stopped from returning to Britain.

Early 2017 – Set to become eligible for early release in late 2017 or early 2018 but was hauled back to court and landed with fresh charges that could see 16 years added to the sentence.

August 23, 2018 – Three-day release to visit her daughter in Damavanad, north east of Tehran. She was promised her release would be extended but then hauled back to jail.

August 29, 2019 – Suffered two panic attacks and was transferred to hospital.

December 24, 2018 – Her husband Richard joined Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to brand her incarceration in Iran on spying charges a ‘travesty of justice’.

December 26, 2018 – Turned 40 in jail. Reports suggest she is being used as a bargaining chip with Iran, which reportedly ramped up its ransom bill by £100m to closer to £500m.

January 14-16, 2019 – Went on hunger strike after requests for medical help were reportedly denied.


“To lose two mothers . . .” he told The Times with a shudder.

“The thing I worry about the most with Gabriella is abandonment. That’s the scar I worry about in the end, that sense of abandonment.

“Her life is about being separated from her parents. One day she will ask ‘why did they do that to me?’”

The three have had a little opportunity to spend time together as a family
AFP
Nazanin said the separation from her daughter after three days together caused them both enormous pain
PA:Press Association
Growing up in Tehran, Gabriella has lost all but a few English words – that include ‘mummy’, ‘daddy’ and ‘love’
Getty Images – Getty

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