Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Internet Freedom Advocate & Hostage Nizar Zakka
Mr. Nizar Zakka issued the following statement upon the continuation of his detention:
“If you’re traveling to Iran on business or pleasure, let my case be a lesson and a warning to others considering visits to Iran. I’m not the only one. If you value your freedom and are a foreigner, Iran is not safe for you. Don’t come here. I was invited to speak at an Internet ICT conference by Vice President Shahindokht Molaverdi. On my way to the airport I was kidnapped, locked up in Evin Prison, and was falsely charged with espionage. I am innocent and the Iranians know it. There is no rule of law in Iran, and I am a victim of this, especially if you’re a foreigner. I will continue to speak out for freedom and justice.”
Mr Zakka’s lawyer in the United States, Mr. Jason I. Poblete, added:
“As we have said in prior instances of alleged judicial action, Mr. Zakka was subjected to a Star Chamber-like proceeding by certain people in the Iranian government who are more interested in using him, and others, as political pawns in international politics. It’s wrong and inhumane.
In 1979, Iran held Americans hostages to exact political concessions from the United States. The Iranians are doing it again, but this time Iran is using a different twisted method for what amounts to hostage-taking so that Iran can, among other things, circumvent U.S. and E.U. sanctions or use innocent civilians, such as Nizar, as leverage to negotiate flawed agreements such as the JCPOA.
In summary, Nizar was invited and given a visa, Nizar was kidnapped, and then Nizar was falsely accused of espionage. It appears that he was targeted for capture so that it coincided during a critical time of the JCPOA negotiations. For these and other reasons, Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law. We shall continue to press all governments that can and should help to demand that Iran unconditionally release of Mr. Zakka.
Nizar was kidnapped by the Iranian regime on September 18, 2015. Nizar was in Iran because he was invited to speak by Shahindokht Molaverdi at a women’s Internet conference. Molaverdi is a member of Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet and serves as the vice president of Iran for Women and Family Affairs.
More information on Nizar Zakka’s case can be found below.
Prior Statements and Releases
- UPDATE 14- After Learning of Son’s Testimony, Congressional Resolution, Zakka Breaks Hunger Strike After 33 Days
- UPDATE 13- Fourth Week of Hunger Strike Zakka Says “Liberty or Death…there is no turning back”
- UPDATE 12- As Nizar Starts Third Week of Hunger Strike, Family Pleas for Humanitarian Release
- UPDATE 11- Nizar on Fifth Hunger Strike, Now “Open Ended”
- UPDATE 10- Nizar Zakka Begins Fifth Hunger Strike, Iran Responds With Torture
- UPDATE 9- Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Nizar Zakka
- UPDATE 8- Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Zakka
- UPDATE 7- Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Nizar Zakka
- UPDATE 6- Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Internet Freedom Advocate Nizar Zakka
- UPDATE 5- The Continued Unlawful Detention of Nizar Zakka
- US LPR Zakka Meets With Iranian Prosecutor, Lebanese Ambassador to Tehran
- UPDATE 4-Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Internet Freedom Advocate Nizar Zakka
- UPDATE 3- Zakka Starts Hunger Strike, Demands Unconditional Release
- UPDATE 2- Nizar Zakka Celebrates 2nd Birthday as a Hostage in Iran
- UPDATE 1- The Continued Unlawful Detention of Nizar Zakka, Unconditional Release on Humanitarian Grounds Urged
- The Continued Unlawful Detention of Nizar Zakka, Unconditional Release on Humanitarian Grounds Urged