Posts Tagged ‘Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’

Magnitsky Human Rights Award 2021 to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe detained in Iran

November 21, 2021

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has won an award in London for her bravery, as her detention in Iran continues. The West Hampstead mother received the Courage Under Fire prize at this year’s Magnitsky Human Rights Awards. For more on this award, see: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/48a2fd20-eb63-11e8-a208-f9dcc4e84560

Redress, an NGO campaigning for the return of Nazanin, says the award “recognises the injustice Nazanin has suffered as a pawn of international diplomacy”.

It comes after ended his second hunger strike, this time for 21 days, to try and break the political impasse to bring Nazanin home.  

Nazanin was very pleased to hear of this award, for herself but also for all the others detained in Iran that you don’t get to hear about,” her husband Richard Ratcliffe said. The Iranian regime gets away with terrible crimes that thrive in darkness where accountability should be.” 

He added: “All our family are very proud of this award.”

Since Richard’s hunger strike, Boris Johnson has said it is “worth considering” paying a £400m historic debt to Iran by sending a plane full of cash to Tehran.

Nazanin, 43, mother of a seven-year-old girl, was arrested in Tehran in 2016 after being accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government – charges always denied and widely refuted. 

William Browder, head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, said: “Nobody should ever be put in a situation like this, but in spite of the pressure, she has proven how powerful she can be even in the most powerless situation.  Her hostage takers should understand that their crimes won’t go unpunished.” 

Accepting the “courage under fire” award on her behalf at the event in London on Thursday evening, Gabriella read her mother’s words.

https://www.impartialreporter.com/news/national/19727498.nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffes-daughter-makes-award-speech-behalf/

https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe-wins-bravery-award-8500754

The pen mightier than the sword: award courageous writers

November 19, 2019

On 18 November 2019 Emma Frost wrote in the Boar a piece extolling writing as an act of courage. She refers to courageous laureates and concludes that “unfortunately, the need for such awards merely confirms the continual existence of persecution, state-sponsored violence and oppression in our world”. THF’s digest lists more than 40 international awards under the theme freedom of expression: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest.

Befeqadu Hailu is an Ethiopian writer, blogger, and human rights activist who recently was awarded the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize for International Writer of Courage. Before achieving this prestigious title, Befeqadu had been imprisoned, brutalised, dehumanised and labelled a ‘terrorist’ by his own government for exercising what should be a basic human right: freedom of speech. …However, Befeqadu isn’t the only writer who has faced such injustice. Instead, he is one of thousands of courageous individuals who dare to speak and write about the truth of their society, and who are consequently punished for doing so. Many readers will recognise the story of Malala Yousafzai, a girl from Pakistan who was almost assassinated by the Taliban in 2012 for her blog posts to BBC Urdu about life under the terrorist organisation and her campaigning for female education. She was only 15 years old when she took that famous bullet to her head.

Female author Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in 1982 in Iran for campaigning for civil and female rights. She used her time in prison as an inspiration for her novel The Secret Letters From X To A, a beautifully written book that ponders the responsibility of publishing an individual’s truth in the face of personal danger for doing so. More recently, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb in 2017,as a consequence for her dedication to exposing the corruption of Maltese politicians through her blog, ‘Running Commentary’.

These examples are testaments to the importance of writing. Without the written records of their struggle and their defiance, the the courage of brave individuals would remain unheard and we would remain in ignorance of their plight. In a world where it is safer not to write about injustice, writers make a valiant choice every day to speak out, knowing the risk of exile, imprisonment, or even death. The former 2015 PEN Pinter award winner Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger for his website ‘Free Saudi Liberals’ and activist for greater human rights in Saudi Arabia, is currently imprisoned to this very day and his exact whereabouts are unknown.

The significance of awards such as the PEN Pinter Prize for International Writer of Courage cannot be exaggerated. They validate the heroic and life-threatening efforts by writers to create a better world and convey to those who are imprisoned for their literature that they are seen, they are heard, and that they won’t be abandoned. The Civil Courage Prize is another such human rights award that recognises “steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk”. This award was inspired by the story of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose book The Gulag Archipelago exposed the true horrors of the Russian gulag system through the use of interviews, diaries, legal documents and his own experience as a gulag prisoner.

Unfortunately, the need for such awards merely confirms the continual existence of persecution, state-sponsored violence and oppression in our world. It signifies that human rights organisations such as Amnesty International have a long way to go in achieving freedom for everyone. In spite of this, I have hope that these brave individuals won’t give up and will continue to write for the sake of a better humanity. All of this reaffirms my steadfast belief that the pen truly is mightier than the sword, and that writing is the most important political tool of our century.

Writing as an act of courage