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Father who survived Iran's prison 'hell' plans to run London marathon

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The father, who was jailed for nearly five years in Iran on espionage charges before being released with Nazanin Zagari Ratcliffe, plans to run the London Marathon to raise money for two charities.

While serving a minimum 10-year sentence at Iran’s Evin Prison in Tehran, 68-year-old Anousheh Ashori decided one day to tackle the marathon, a charge he denied and condemned by the British government. .

He was arrested while visiting his elderly mother in Tehran in August 2017 and subsequently convicted of spying for Israeli Mossad intelligence services despite living in the UK for 20 years. I received

Anoushe Ashori is running the London Marathon after being released from an Iranian prison in March.

(Sherry Izadi)

A retired civil engineer and his fellow British-Iranian dual citizen Zagari Ratcliffe, who was also detained on espionage charges, were released and returned to Britain in March.

Mr Asholi, who lives in Leigh, Lewisham, south east London, will run a marathon with his 33-year-old son Aryan on 2 October to raise funds and awareness for Amnesty International and Hostage International.

Both charities supported him and his family while he was in prison.

He still suffers flashbacks of his ordeal and was taken to the Evin Prison interrogation center, where he made “three suicide attempts” and lost 17 kg.

He was then sent to a major prison, where he was placed in a “coffin-like” cell with about 14 other people.

He began exercising regularly with other inmates, “running in circles” in “very tight spaces” in the prison gymnasium and gardens.

At first I was out of breath in less than 10 minutes, but over time my endurance improved and I was able to run for up to 2 hours.

Anoushe Ashori is running the London Marathon after being released from an Iranian prison in March.

(Sherry Izadi)

Another inmate gave him a copy of Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

He added:

“It’s been good for me because it can actually protect my health.

“You can fight madness by running, it’s magic.”

Another book read in prison was Man’s Search For Meaning by Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor.

Ashori said he realized that “even if you are experiencing intense suffering, if you find a purpose for that suffering or try to create it, it will not be as painful as it used to be.”

He called on the British government to do more to help negotiate the release of other detainees held in Iran, including British-born environmentalist Morad Tabaz.

He was released on furlough with an electronic tag in July after more than four years in prison.

“I urge the UK government to be patient and work hard to bring them back,” he added.

He said he ran “to let all those left behind know that they have not been forgotten,” adding, “I am thinking of them and doing this in solidarity with them.” added.

His and Nazanin’s release came after the British government agreed to repay £400 million in debt to Iran dating back to the 1970s, although the two governments insisted the two issues should not be linked. There is



He is a source of inspiration and we are delighted and honored to be working with him on this campaign.

Joe Atkins Potts, Amnesty International UK

Joe Atkins Potts, Urgent Action Campaign Manager for Amnesty International UK, said: Aryans participating in this wonderful event.

“Since his release in March, Anoushe has always made it clear that he will not rest until Morad Tabaz, Mehran Raohu and others wrongfully detained in Iran are released.

“He is a source of inspiration and we are delighted and honored to be working with him on this campaign.”

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