I, alongside other MEPs, recently signed a letter urging the Iranian government to release EU-Iranian prisoners including Nazanin. You can read the letter here:
Dear Mr. Sadeq Larijani, Head of the Judiciary, Dear Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Dear Head of Council for Human Rights Mr. Mohammad Javad Larijani,
We are writing to you as Members of the European Parliament, who are gravely concerned by the situation of duel EU-Iranian nationals being held prisoner in Iran on vaguely-worded charges, subject to unfair trials, as well as to inhumane conditions in prison, including the denial of medical care. In the context of the new emerging relationship of dialogue between Iran and Europe, we urge you to release all of these prisoners, and in the meantime, guarantee them improved conditions of detention.
We would like to highlight to you the case of British-Iranian citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been detained since April 3, 2016. She was about to leave Iran to return to the UK after visiting her parents with her young daughter when she was arrested in Tehran. She spent a significant amount of time in solitary confinement and was not allowed access to a lawyer until three days before the start of her trial in August 2016. Her mental and physical health have suffered enormously in detention and she needs immediate admission to hospital for tests and treatment. In September 2016, following an unfair trial, she was sentenced to five years in prison for undisclosed charges.
Ahmadreza Djalali is an Iranian-born Swedish resident and an emergency disaster relief expert who was arrested on April 25, 2016, after being invited by the University of Tehran for workshops on his field of work. He was held in solitary confinement for three months and has said that he was subjected to intense interrogations and forced under great emotional and psychological pressure to sign statements. Despite repeated interrogations, he was not allowed to see a lawyer for seven months after his arrest. He went on hunger strike in December 2016 and his health has deteriorated since. In January 2017, he was taken before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, without his lawyer present, where the presiding judge told him that he was accused of “espionage” and could face the death penalty. The authorities have also told him that they do not accecpt his choice of lawyer and that, unless he finds one they approve, they will choose one on his behalf.
Nazak Afshar is a French-Iranian citizen who was arrested on March 12, 2016 after earlier charges against her were dropped in 2009. In detention, she lost consciousness several times during long interrogation sessions. She was sentenced to six yeats in prison, and released in April 2016 after posting bail. She has since been placed in a travel ban and is subsequently unable to leave the country.
Since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was agreed between Iran and the E3+3, Europe and Iran have entered a new relationship, which both sides have worked to build. IN October 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on EU strategy towards the steps that the sides have taken towards each other. The report also recognised the situation of political prisoners and EU nationals detained in Iran.
Moving forward in this new relatinoship requires cooperation and joint work also in the field of human righets and the rule of law, which aim to ensure the safety and dignity of any human being around the world.
We therefore ask you to bring our citizens, Nazanin, Ahmadreza and Nazak, back yo their families, release them and drop the charges against them. We hope you will see this request favourably.
Signed by Members of the European Parliament:
Heinz K. Becker
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica
Fabio Massimo Castaldo
José Inácio Faria
Ana Maria Gomes
Tania Gonzales Penas
Molly Scott Cato