Bishop Guli writes to Chelmsford Diocese MPs about imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
15th Nov 2021
This morning. the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani wrote to the MPs of Chelmsford Diocese calling on them to speak out during a parliamentary debate about the ongoing imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran.
Bishop Guli's letter reads as follows:
Monday 15 November 2021
Dear Member of Parliament
I am aware that you have many pressing matters for your consideration. However, I am writing to raise with you the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe which is coming to Parliament for debate tomorrow.
You may be aware that, like Nazanin, I come from Iran and arrived in this country in 1980 as a refugee aged fourteen. Over the years since Nazanin’s imprisonment I have largely sought to keep out of the public debate, though I have had some contact with her husband Richard and am in touch regularly with their parish priest.
The government in this country risks coming into disrepute over this dreadful affair, and it is now time for action. Regardless of the human rights abuses of the Iranian Government which I have experienced first-hand, and regardless of all the rights and wrongs of the British Government’s handling of the situation so far, Britain owes a debt which should be paid, and if it is not going to be paid then we should know the reason why. Several senior politicians on both sides of the House, including former Foreign Secretaries, are saying the same thing and I’m writing to ask you to consider speaking out in this vein in the debate on Tuesday.
This innocent family, along with several others, are caught up in a situation not of their own making. The British Government has it in its power to pay this debt and bring a terrible affair to a positive conclusion. Surely, the time for prevarication is over and we must now see concrete action.
Finally, if I may, I have written the following prayer which we will be using daily in the Diocese of Chelmsford between 15th and 21st November. If you are someone who prays I would be delighted if you would join us.
A prayer for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and all who are imprisoned unjustly
O God, the source of all that is good and holy,
who through your Son calls the weary and heavy-laden to find comfort in your presence:
look upon Nazanin, and all those who are imprisoned unjustly, with your gentle gaze;
surround them and their loved ones with the assurance of your love;
give them the gift of hope; and soften the hearts of the powerful,
so that justice may roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.
With my thanks and best wishes.
Bishop of Chelmsford
Lead Bishop for Housing