UPDATE 20- Zakka Family Statement on Continued Unlawful Detention

The following statement was issued on behalf of Mr. Nizar Zakka’s family by Mr. Zakka’s lawyer in the United States, Mr. Jason Poblete:

“Mr. Javad Zarif you have said that what happened with Nizar is “not a problem between Iran and Lebanon…and the problem is actually between the United States and Iran.” What does this mean Mr. Zarif? While your government and the Americans discuss the “problem,” Nizar remains seriously ill in Evin Prison.

“For more than 800 days Nizar has been subjected to physical and mental torture at Evin Prison. For weeks, Nizar and his family have asked for a doctor to diagnose and treat various health ailments, including cancer. Among other symptoms, Nizar is unable to keep down solid food. Now he cannot move one of his legs. For some inexplicable reason, his captors refuse to provide necessary medical care.

“The Zakka family pleads with anyone in a position to provide assistance, to ask the Iranian government to do the right thing. Get Nizar medical help, but please allow Nizar to be reunited with his family.”

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Iran is a party to the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages; In a letter dated October 25, 2017, to U.N. Secretary General Guterres, we outlined the obligations of the United Nations and urged Secretary General Guterres to personally intercede to help Nizar and others unjustly detained in Iran.


Mr. Zakka traveled to Iran in September 2015, at the invitation of Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi, to speak at a conference on the use of technology and the Internet to promote social, economic, and educational development in the region. After the conference, en route to the airport, Mr. Zakka was taken by persons believed to be associated with the IRGC’s Basij or the intelligence services.

Mr. Zakka has been denied the right to review the charges or evidence against him and his lawyers have not been allowed to mount a proper defense. Despite the ordeal, including psychological and physical torture, Nizar has maintained his innocence. 

Prior Statements and Releases


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