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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: husband Richard ends hunger strike on day 21 outside Foreign Office

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband is ending his hunger strike after 21 days of demanding that the Foreign Secretary bring his wife home from Iran.

Richard Ratcliffe has gone three weeks without eating, and has been camped outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office since October 24.

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Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is ending his hunger strike in central London after almost three weeks (image: PA)

At a glance: 5 key points

- Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been held in Iran for five years on spying charges, lost her appeal against a second prison sentence

- The 43-year-old mother-of-one from London has been detained in Iran since 2016 and has not seen her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella in two years

-Ratcliffe said he was starting to get pains in his feet overnight, and after a chat with a doctor the decision was made to end the hunger strike

-He said he did not feel things had “moved forwards” and accused the British Government of not giving a “clear enough message to Iran that hostage-taking is wrong”

-Richard Ratcliffe’s strike ended as a patchwork was due to be unveiled made from all the patches supporters have been sending throughout his time camped outside the FCDO

Richard Ratcliffe (R) and his daughter Gabriella pose with placards of Nazanin in Parliament Square to mark the 2,000th day of her detention in Iran on September 23 (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

What’s been said

On Saturday morning on King Charles Street, where Ratcliffe has been staging his hunger strike, he told the PA news agency his job is to “keep going”, adding: “We probably hoped we’d get a breakthrough doing this. We haven’t yet.

“I didn’t want to go out in an ambulance. I want to walk out with my head held high.”

Background

A meeting with Foreign Office minister James Cleverly, after FCDO officials had talks with Iranian deputy foreign minister Bagheri Kani on Thursday, left Mr Ratcliffe feeling “deflated” and “stuck in the same status quo”.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, has been in custody in Iran since 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

She was taking the couple’s daughter Gabriella to see her family when she was arrested and sentenced to five years in jail, spending four years in Evin Prison and one under house arrest.

According to her family, she was told by Iranian authorities that she was being detained because of the UK’s failure to pay an outstanding £400 million debt to Iran.

It is the second time Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike, having camped in front of the Iranian embassy for 15 days two years ago – a move he said had resulted in getting his daughter home.

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