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Nazanin's 'trepidation' on eve of hunger strike

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe feels "a strong sense of trepidation" as she prepares to begin a hunger strike in an Iranian prison, her husband has said.

The British-Iranian dual national, who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, will refuse to eat for three days from Monday in protest at being denied health care in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, has suffered a catalogue of mental and physical health complaints since she was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport on 3 April 2016.

She is serving a five-year prison sentence after being accused of spying, a charge she strongly denies.

Speaking to The Observer, her husband Richard Ratcliffe said: “We know a hunger strike has significant physical consequences the longer it goes on for and Nazanin is feeling a strong sense of trepidation.

“But there aren’t many ways she can say, ‘Enough is enough. Take me seriously’.”

He also previously told The Independent his wife’s family was fearful she was not physically strong enough to pull through the hunger strike.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe will be joined in the strike by Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who is serving a 16-year sentence after being charged with “collusion against national security” and “committing propaganda against the state”.

Richard Ratcliffe said his wife would consider extending the hunger strike if her demands to see a doctor are not met.

He said she has been refused medical treatment for checking lumps in her breasts, neurological care over neck pains and numbness in her arms and legs, and for seeing an outside psychiatrist.

Her daughter Gabriella, now four, has been staying with family in Iran since Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned. ■

The Independent