British Prisoners in Iran

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 18th July 2017.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Labour, Hampstead and Kilburn 4:30 pm, 18th July 2017

Absolutely. My hon. Friend makes a good point, as usual. That is something I will be asking the Minister to address in his conclusion.

Secondly, given the seriousness with which the Government say they are treating Nazanin’s case, is it acceptable that the Foreign Secretary is yet to meet with her family? They are told that he raises concerns with Foreign Minister Zarif, but a meeting would reassure them of progress. Will the Minister help me to get a meeting between the families of those prisoners of conscience and the Foreign Secretary?

Thirdly, last year, Amnesty International produced a report on Iran’s prisons, which highlighted 17 cases in which

The Iranian authorities are callously toying with the lives of political prisoners by denying them adequate medical care—putting them at risk of irreversible damage to their health or even death”.

Will the Minister therefore clarify the role of the 45 diplomats who recently went on a visit to Evin prison—the very prison in which Nazanin is being held—and were given a tour to show them how well prisoners are treated? That consular team, which is denied access to Nazanin and Kamal Foroughi because they are dual nationals, was sitting literally outside the cell in which Nazanin is being held, exchanging pleasantries, drinking refreshments and taking photos, and yet they did not help her. Did they ask to see her? If not, why not? Does the Minister agree that it is outrageous for our Government to take part in a public relations stunt, in which diplomats go to Evin prison and take pictures at the very location where human rights abuses are taking place? I would like the Minister to respond to that question. Will he ask for a full report from the embassy of Tehran, which was reinstated recently?

I would like to ask the Minister some broader policy questions, which my hon. Friend Lyn Brown raised, about the implications for those with dual nationalities. Nazanin has been denied justice at every turn during her 14-month ordeal, but she is not the only British dual national to be detained in Iran—Kamal Foroughi and Roya have already been mentioned. The treatment of British prisoners in Iran speaks to the need for a review of the Government’s broader policy towards dual nationals who are detained abroad. If we accept the status quo, we are accepting that the way Nazanin and Kamal are being treated is okay. That is not acceptable for many Members of this House.