As a recurring pattern, it appears that Richard Ratcliffe’s latest media circus at the door steps of the Iranian embassy in London has subsided, at least for now, Presstv Reported.
The husband of dual British-Iranian national, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, embarked on a hunger strike last month outside the Iranian embassy in London, ostensibly, in support of his incarcerated wife.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in Iran in April 2016 on security-related charges and was subsequently sentenced to five years imprisonment.
In addition to the extensive media network behind him, Ratcliffe also enjoys the support of a few politicians. Tulip Siddiq, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hampstead and Kilburn, is arguably at the forefront of Ratcliffe’s campaign.
Siddiq uses the fact that Ratcliffe is her parliamentary constituent as the foundation for her actions on his wife’s behalf. She was the driving force behind the British government’s decision earlier this year to grant a very rare diplomatic protection status to Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
Siddiq wrote a column for the London independent on August 29, 2018 to argue her case for diplomatic protection on the grounds that her constituent is going through “hell” and that her health is, allegedly, “deteriorating”.
Despite being informed about the questionable nature of Radcliffe’s claims about his wife, Siddiq has hitherto refrained from correcting her position.
In an interview with reporters outside the Iranian embassy, Siddiq was asked why Ratcliffe refuses to travel to Iran, to which she replied: “We have tried for a long time to secure a visa for Richard. We even made the request in front of the (former) foreign secretary Boris Johnson but so far we haven’t received a visa”.
Siddiq claims that issuing a visa for Ratcliffe is the least that the Iranian embassy can do to facilitate his reunion with his family.
But when challenged by reporters that according to available evidence the Iranian embassy had signalled its willingness to issue a visa a couple of years ago but Ratcliffe had refused to take them up on the offer. Despite this fact Siddiq has so far failed to rectify her position.
Siddiq’s record of appeasing human rights violators belies her desired position as a defender of human rights.
Siddiq has aroused controversy in her own right through her connections to the ruling elite of Bangladesh. These connections are so strong that when Siddiq delivered her maiden speech at the House of Commons in 2015, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, was in attendance.
Siddiq’s hypocritical approach towards human rights issues has raised questions about her real intentions in the Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair.
Writing for the Guardian in December 2017, leading barrister Michael Polak Esq., takes Siddiq to task for her inaction on Bangladesh’s human rights abuses, in particular the country’s “disappeared innocents”.
According to Human Rights Watch, Bangladeshi security forces have illegally detained hundreds of people since 2013, including scores of opposition activists, and held them in secret detention.
Taking into account Siddiq’s strong connections to the Bangladeshi regime and her alleged double standards on human rights issues, and, still, a most legitimate question remains unanswered: has Mrs. Tulip Sidiqq reconsidered her past actions with regard to human rights, or is she playing a double game?