Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has already been responsible for a series of idiotic statements that have caused huge offence in the UK and abroad, through which he tries to bluff his way by with a hem, a haw and a Latin phrase or two.
On 1 November, however, an incorrect statement made recklessly by Johnson has put a UK mother being held in Iran in serious danger, as well-known BBC journalist Julia Macfarlane made clear on Twitter:
Ms Ratcliffe has already served nineteen months in prison of a five-year sentence on charges of attempting to orchestrate a ‘soft overthrow’ of the regime, but was scheduled for possible early release this month. However, the case against her was reopened and additional charges placed relating to alleged protesting in London and her work – not as a journalist – for the BBC and Reuters. The charges, according to her husband, could result in an additional jail term of up to sixteen years.
In that context, Johnson’s factually-wrong and reckless statement that she was there to train journalists could have the most serious repercussions, including perhaps even more serious charges with an even more severe sentence.
Four days after Johnson’s comments, they were used against Ms Ratcliffe in an unscheduled court session as proof of her guilt:
In spite of this disaster, neither Johnson nor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office appear bothered about issuing a correction to his damaging statement.
Ms Ratcliffe’s family are hoping political pressure on Iran will secure her release – but political pressure is clearly needed on Johnson to get him to correct his error and to do their job in working intelligently for Ms Ratcliffe’s release to family, which includes her husband and their three-year-old daughter.
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