THE family of detained mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe have told of their pride after she was honoured for her bravery throughout her six-year ordeal in Iran.

Richard Ratcliffe - whose sister Rebecca is a GP in Cwmbran - and the couple’s seven-year-old daughter Gabriella were due to collect the “courage under fire” award on her behalf at an event in London.

The British-Iranian dual national, who was arrested in Iran in 2016 as she took the little girl to see relatives, has been recognised at the Magnitsky Human Rights Awards.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and sentenced to five years in jail, spending four years in Evin Prison and one under house arrest.

She has always denied all charges against her.

A historic £400 million debt which Britain owes to Tehran – relating to a cancelled order for 1,500 Chieftain tanks dating back to the 1970s – has been linked to her detention, as well as that of other UK-Iranian dual nationals held in the country.

Mr Ratcliffe, who recently spent 21 days on hunger strike to draw attention to his wife’s case, said: “Nazanin was very pleased to hear of this award, for herself but also for all the others detained in Iran that you don’t get to hear about.

“The Iranian regime gets away with terrible crimes that thrive in darkness where accountability should be.”

The awards are named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered large-scale tax fraud in his home country and died in prison after giving evidence against corrupt officials.

So-called Magnitsky sanctions target those responsible for human rights violations or corruption.

Mr Ratcliffe added: “We are strengthened by the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign’s recognition of that danger and the role of Magnitsky sanctions in challenging Iran’s state hostage-taking.

“All our family are very proud of this award.”

He described the award as a “lovely surprise” for his wife, “knowing that other people care, and can see your injustice, knowing that you are not alone”.

He added that she is “also very proud that Gabriella will receive it for her, and make a speech on her behalf, a proud mum of her growing up girl”.

Rupert Skilbeck, director of human rights organisation Redress, which has been part of the campaign to have Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned to the UK, said she has “endured intolerable suffering in Iran”.

He added: “This award is a timely reminder of the resilience and courage shown by many survivors of torture in the face of the most brutal human rights abuses.

“In recognising this, we must not forget that survivors deserve, and must receive, justice and reparation.

“The UK Government can and must impose Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible for Nazanin’s suffering.”