Knitting for Naz: a simple act of solidarity with imprisoned mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

(Photo: Natasha Hirst/Hirst Photos)

A pastor's wife was among the people who came together in Cardiff recently to call upon the Iranian government to free British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. 

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, mother to a young daughter, was detained at the end of a visit to Iran in April 2016 to see family.  She remains behind bars on spy charges.

Mo James, wife of Baptist pastor Rob James, was one of the knitters who put together a giant chain for the Amnesty International event. 

The knitted chain was made by a large team of volunteer knitters to symbolise Zaghari-Ratcliffe's imprisonment, with each chain formed of 17 rows of 70 stitches reflecting the period of her incarceration. 

(Photo: Natasha Hirst/Hirst Photos)

"When I first heard Nazanine's tragic story my heart ached for her as both a wife and mum," said Mrs James.

"I felt so helpless and never thought I would be able to do anything to help. But things began to change when we organised a petition through our local Messy Church group.

"We felt it was one way of highlighting her plight and gathering support for her. We had an amazing response at our local agricultural show last summer. Visitors did more than write; they also drew pictures of support that they knew would be sent on to her." 

(Photo: Natasha Hirst/Hirst Photos)
(Photo: Natasha Hirst/Hirst Photos)

She said the knitted chain was a way to show how much people care about Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

"It was so simple and easy to do but it helped me identity with her and her family in some strange way, and it's yet another means of showing the world we care," she said.

The 200m-long chain was unveiled during Stand Up in the Park, organised by Amnesty International and held last weekend at the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival. 

The event was held to raise awareness of Zaghari-Ratcliffe's plight and was joined by comedy circuit performers Robin Morgan, Dana Baptiste and Angela Barnes. 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said: "Thank you, Cardiff Amnesty, for organising the 'Knit for Naz' campaign, and to everyone involved in making this 'chain of care'. Nazanin is very touched - I have told her that one day we will use the chain as decoration for a celebration."