Remember Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe? Boris Johnson probably wishes he’d never heard of her.
The charity worker was jailed in 2016 on trumped-up charges of trying to engineer a “soft” revolt against the Iranian regime, when in fact she had been celebrating that country’s New Year with family members who live there.
Boris Johnson, as UK Foreign Secretary, made matters infinitely worse for her when he stupidly suggested that the Iranian authorities’ claims were right and she had been training journalists.
He travelled to Iran to try to secure Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release but instead only succeeded in promising to hand over nearly half a billion pounds that the UK had been withholding from Iran’s rulers since the 1970s.
What an idiot.
Now, Richard Ratcliffe has signalled that he has given up on the useless UK government, and turned to the United Nations from help.
Considering the UN’s total failure to secure any relief for the sick and disabled people who have been made to suffer by the Tory government in this country, some might say the decision is leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
For Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sake, This Writer hopes he persuades the UN to act, and their efforts produce results.
Whatever happens, the damage to the UK government’s – and particularly Boris Johnson’s – reputation will be considerable.
The Tories clearly can’t negotiate their way out of a paper bag. It was far too much to ask them to secure the release from prison of an innocent woman.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband has called upon the UN to intervene in his wife’s case after formally accusing the Iranian authorities of torturing her during her 683 days in jail.
Richard Ratcliffe’s submission to the UN special rapporteur on torture describes in harrowing detail a catalogue of abuses that “strongly suggests the treatment [of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe] amounts to torture”.
It says the innocent charity worker was kept in solitary confinement for a total of more than eight months, and accuses the Iranians of using her as a “bargaining chip”, seemingly to recover a £450m debt owed from a 1970s arms deal.
It calls on UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer to ensure Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is treated properly and the torture allegations are independently investigated, and asks him to “discuss with the UK Government the steps [it has] taken to protect [her] from ill-treatment”.
The submission, prepared with the help of the human rights organisation Redress, also details the extreme distress caused to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe after the Iranians exploited a gaffe by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to falsely portray her as a spy on national television.
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