LONDON (AP) — The husband of detained U.K. charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appealed to the British government on Thursday to be brave in its dealings with Iran as the family marked 2,000 days since her arrest there.
Richard Ratcliffe and the couple’s 7-year-old daughter Gabriella stood on top of a snakes and ladders game board in Parliament Square, symbolizing the dilemma of being caught between two governments. Nazanin Zaghari-Racliffe is one of several people with British or dual-British nationality now being held there.
“It’s 2,000 days of ups and downs and twists and turns and false dawns, and snakes and ladders seemed to encapsulate that because we’re in the middle of a game between two governments, we’re just a bargaining chip in it,” he said.
The Foreign Office insists that the case is a priority for Liz Truss, who recently took over as foreign secretary. She raised the case before her Iranian counterpart on Wednesday.
“The government needs to be brave and just start doing things that will cause a rethink amongst those in charge of Iran’s hostage-taking action,” Ratcliffe said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s government, a charge that she, her supporters and rights groups vigorously deny. She was taken into custody at the airport after visiting her family in 2016 in Tehran. At the time, she was working for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the news agency.
In May, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to an additional year in prison on charges of spreading “propaganda against the system” for having participated in a protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London in 2009.