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UK Foreign Office: Citizens arrested abroad have ‘no right to our help’ Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, poses for a photograph after delivering a Mother's Day card and flowers to the Iranian Embassy in London, Britain March 31, 2019. (Reuters/File Photo) Arab News December 28, 2020 18:04 Zaghari-Ratcliffe legal team: ‘That sends an extremely alarming message to … the British public’ LONDON: British citizens unjustly arrested abroad have no right to government protection even if they face torture or are used as diplomatic leverage against the UK, the Foreign Office has warned. The comments were made in a letter to lawyers representing Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Iranian-British dual national detained by Tehran, The Times newspaper reported. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “sowing dissent” against the Iranian regime, which she denies. Tehran’s actions have been widely condemned as being politically motivated. Since Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s arrest, she has not once been visited by UK officials either in prison or at home, where she has been since March. The Foreign Office claimed that because Iran has not granted its request for consular access, it is powerless to act. Sarah Broughton, head of consular affairs at the Foreign Office, said in the letter to the Zaghari-Ratcliffe legal team that “British citizens falsely accused overseas have no legal right to consular assistance.” In response, the legal team said: “If it is really the government’s position that it has no obligations even in the extreme and unique circumstances of Nazanin’s case, then that sends an extremely alarming message to the rest of the British public.” Despite UN experts finding that Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s mistreatment in detention amounts to torture, Broughton said the UK government “cannot investigate torture or mistreatment allegations.” David Walters, founder of Arrest Abroad and a 30-year veteran of the Foreign Office, said: “The Foreign Office is hamstrung over Nazanin’s case. It is impotent and paralyzed.” Tulip Siddiq, the Zaghari-Ratcliffe family’s local MP, said: “The UK government is failing at its most basic duty: To protect its citizens.” https://www.arabnews.com/node/1784031/world