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

I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention and her support. I thank all Members from across the House who have pledged their support. This is not a party political issue; this is about constructive working to ensure that we achieve the release of prisoners of conscience who are our citizens.

I have a few more questions for the Minister to answer in his summing up. Will the Government state that there should be no exception to taking clearly documented action on behalf of all UK nationals who face breaches of their human rights? According to a 2011 report by the Office for National Statistics—my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham mentioned this figure—more than 600,000 people living in Britain hold another passport. They are of course not at risk of being detained, but we need to address deficiencies in our law to ensure equal protection for dual nationals.

Will the Government commit to making complaints about all breaches of the Vienna convention on consular relations, and consider bringing cases before the International Court of Justice if such breaches continue? Furthermore, will the Government bring the strongest possible pressure to bear on Iran to cease its pattern of arbitrary detention of dual nationals? Will the Government support and work towards the implementation of any findings of the United Nations monitoring bodies concerning UK nationals?

Finally, will the Government accept that there is a fundamental accountability gap between what the Foreign Office says it is doing and what the families can know is happening to their relatives? Families cannot be left in the dark about the framework of work that exists when their relatives are treated in such a way. A Foreign Office approach of discretion encourages inertia, but also defines the kind of foreign policy that the Government are mandated to deliver.

The Conservative manifesto states that the party believes in the values of

“freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law” around the world. When I asked about this case at Prime Minister’s questions, she said that she was concerned about the effect that detention was having on Nazanin. Pat Frankland, who is apparently a good friend of the Prime Minister, said that her politics and morals are based on Christian values, of being decent, “not doing people down” and looking after people, so I ask the Prime Minister, and the Minister, to do the decent thing. I am asking them to do more—to do more to restore this family who have been ripped apart by a senseless miscarriage of justice; to do more to bring this toddler back together with her family, her mother and father, before even more of her childhood is blighted; and to do more to bring Nazanin, Kamal and Roya home to the UK where they belong.