Ana Diamond

Ana Diamond (also known as Ana-Diamond Aaba Atach ( آنا دایموند or آنا دیاموند ); born August 1994), previously a dual citizen of Iran and Finland (until 2019), now a British political commentator, researcher and human rights activist who is one of the founding members of The Families Alliance Against State Hostage Taking. The organisation was formally founded in New York on 24th September 2019, on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly, the first global entity of its kind. She holds British, Iranian, and Finnish citizenships.

Diamond traveled to Iran in August 2014 and was placed on a travel ban for reasons undisclosed to her at the time. After 500 days, in January 2016 Diamond was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at the height of the JCPOA deal. At the age of 19, she was accused of espionage for MI6, CIA, and Mossad - allegations she denied. Her arrest, similar to the arrest of numerous other dual-nationals, has been linked to the long-standing dispute of estimated £400m between Islamic Republic of Iran and United Kingdom.

The IRGC, including its Qods Force, is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Early life and education

Diamond moved to Finland when she was a toddler and went to Ressu International Baccalaureate School in Helsinki. She later moved to United Kingdom and grew up in London. She studied Film Studies and Theology at King's College London, graduating with First-Class Honours in 2019. She holds British, Iranian, and Finnish citizenships.

Arrest and detention

Diamond travelled to the United States as part of the University of California Education Abroad Program and studied a semester at University of California, Santa Barbara before going on a pilgrimage to Israel in July 2014. She documented the peaceful co-existence of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim people in the Old City, Jerusalem, which was one of the alleged evidences later used by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to prove her "spy work" for MI6 and Mossad.

On 10 January 2016 she was formally arrested with her parents after approximately 500-days of a travel ban and extensive interrogations by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during which they were not allowed to leave Iran. Diamond spent roughly 200 days in solitary confinement in 2-Alef IRGC security ward in Evin Prison. Diamond was briefly transferred to the public ward with other female political prisoners, including Narges Mohammadi and Atena Farghadani. At the time, Diamond was the youngest female inmate in Evin Prison and one of the few dual-nationals to undergo a forced virginity test during detention, as well as a mock execution. Diamond has described her treatment as "demeaning" and as "torture".

Unlike other political and national security prisoners, Diamond was tried at the Special Clerical Court due to her high-profile family clerical background. Her prosecutor was Ebrahim Raisi, later a presidential candidate in 2017 Iranian presidential election running against President Hassan Rouhani. Diamond was charged with espionage for "enemy governments, including MI6, CIA, Mossad, and others" and blasphemy. Her earlier involvement in UK youth politics as a spokeswoman for Conservative Future and her photos with various high-profile politicians, including Boris Johnson and Janet Napolitano, were used to present her as a special adviser for the Conservative Party and as an MI6 and CIA spy. At the end of the trial, she was found guilty and was sentenced to death.

Release and health issues

In August 2016, Diamond was released on bail in excess of about $130,000. She was placed on house arrest and sentenced to a 10-year jail term, which was later revoked and all charges against her dropped in 2017. She left Iran with an emergency passport in May 2018 and returned to London.

Since her return to the UK, Diamond has been open about the psychological trauma inflicted on her and the physical damages that she developed during her detention, one of them being a severe cardiac arrhythmia. She underwent two heart operations in London within a year after her return and has since then become one of the founding members of The Families Alliance Against State Hostage Taking, alongside Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Jason Rezaian, and Nizar Zakka. The Families Alliance was launched at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York City in 2019.