By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) - British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has summoned the Iranian ambassador to discuss the imprisonment of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
The 40-year-old aid worker was jailed for five years in September 2016 after being convicted of spying for the U.K. while she and her daughter were visiting her family in Tehran, a charge they deny.
The foreign secretary, according to the BBC, has praised Zaghari-Ratcliffe for her bravery and endurance and criticised Iran for allowing “an innocent mother to feel she needs to resort to a hunger strike” to call for attention.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe has begun a three-day hunger strike to protest against prison officials who have refused to provide urgent medical care.
Husband Richard Ratcliffe has warned that his wife is in need of neurological care due to severe neck pains and numbness in her arms and legs and that she has to request permission to visit a psychiatrist outside of prison.
According to Amnesty International, Zaghari-Ratcliffe is imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison alongside prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, who is also in need of urgent medical attention.
“It’s outrageous it’s had to come to this for Nazanin and Narges. Nazanin and Narges are prisoners of conscience, forced to resort to desperate, life-endangering measures simply to get vital medical care,” Kate Allen, Amnesty’s U.K. director, said in a press statement.
“The Iranian authorities should stop playing cruel games with Nazanin and Narges and immediately release them. Pending their release, they should be allowed the medical care they urgently need," she added.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, was arrested in 2016 at Imam Khomeini Airport when she was going back to the U.K. after visiting her family in Tehran.
She was detained in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer and sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of being a spy for an illegal group, a trial Amnesty has labelled “grossly unfair”.