Human Rights lawyer says Foreign Office is 'not fit for purpose when it comes to protecting detained Brits'

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released after a six-year ordeal in Iran was brought to an end as the UK Government settled an outstanding £400 million debt

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A Human Rights lawyer has told GB News the Foreign Office is "not fit for purpose" for dealing with British citizens detained abroad.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released after a six-year ordeal in Iran was brought to an end as the UK Government settled an outstanding £400 million debt owed to the regime in Tehran.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, who fought to secure her release, said it meant “we can stop being a moment in history and start being a normal family again” and together with their daughter Gabriella they were “looking forward to a new life”.

The British-Iranian mother is returning to Britain, along with a second dual national, Anoosheh Ashoori.

A third British detainee, Morad Tahbaz, has been released from prison on furlough.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured landing in Oman ahead of return to UK
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe pictured landing in Oman ahead of return to UK

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained on security charges by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Imam Khomeini airport after a holiday visit to Iran, where she introduced her daughter Gabriella to her parents.

Mr Ashoori has been in prison for almost five years while Mr Tahbaz has been held for four.

Their release follows months of intensive diplomatic negotiations between London and Tehran.

Mr Ratcliffe has long claimed that his wife was being used as a pawn in a dispute between the UK and Iran over the unpaid debt linked to an arms deal.

The UK has paid the £393.8 million owed to Iran after it cancelled an order of Chieftain tanks following the overthrow of the shah in the revolution of 1979.

In a statement, Ms Truss confirmed the debt had been settled “in parallel” with the release of the detainees.

Richard Ratcliffe with their daughter after hearing the news that Nazanin was on her way home.
Richard Ratcliffe with their daughter after hearing the news that Nazanin was on her way home.

Now, Human Rights Lawyer David Haigh has questioned the timing of her release.

Speaking to GB News' Nigel Farage he said: "That money has now been paid, it hadn’t been paid before, and after it was paid they’d been released.

“What message does that send to other dictators holding our British detainees?

“It’s very suspicious timing, especially when you look at what’s happening in Russia at the moment.

“The need for oil, the need for friends and Boris at the moment going to Saudi and the UAE and making friends with other dictators and despots who have oil.

“She’s been detained for six years, her husband has campaigned tirelessly for her release.

“All of a sudden, now that we’ve fallen out with Russia, we find that Iran is suddenly somewhat friendly to us."

On the wider issue of the UK's relationship with countries whose population's human rights and civil liberties are brought into question he said: “Nazanin is just one of the many Brits detained across the world.

“The Foreign Office is not fit for purpose when it comes to protecting Brits detained abroad

“It all boils down to whether it’s trade and commerce, or the rights of the Brits detained in these countries, what takes precedent?”