'Cease Nazanin's torture and free her now' - Foundation CEO
Tuesday 2 April 2019
Iran's treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (photo) is psychological and physical torture and must cease, the head of the Thomson Reuters Foundation said on Tuesday.
“It is so sad to have to mark the third anniversary of Nazanin’s brutal arrest in Tehran and her imprisonment,” Foundation chief executive Monique Villa wrote in a statement. “The treatment imposed by the Iranian authorities on our innocent colleague is nothing less than torture, psychological and physical. It has to cease.”
Villa said that during the past three years she had worked closely with Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard on the campaign to free her, “and I have seen how incredibly challenging it has been for him to keep her morale up day after day and help her through her darkest moments.”
She expressed admiration for their strength and courage throughout.
“From the exchanges I have had with Nazanin, I know that she is still the strong woman she was when she worked with us at the Foundation, but I also feel the desperation that strikes and numbs her often, as well as the increasing sense of urgency she feels as the years go by.
“When she was arrested after her holiday with her family, Nazanin was brutally separated from her daughter Gabriella. She has never accepted that separation. This is absolutely agonising for her. I hope they can soon have a second child. We all know at the Foundation how important it was for her to be a mother, as she shared her joy on a daily basis. It would be unbearably cruel to deny her the chance to have that second child.”
Villa said Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s desk had been kept empty ever since she was arrested and would be there when she returned.
“She is sorely missed by all of us at the Thomson Reuters Foundation. We urge the Iranian authorities to release Nazanin immediately, before her health deteriorates further. It is time to end her ordeal, and right this wrong.” ■
- Thomson Reuters Foundation