The following article was published in Asharq Al Awsat on April 23, 2018. The original version can be read here.
Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese detainee currently held in Iran, is in “very bad health,” his family members said in a statement presented to Prime Minister Saad Hariri Monday.
PM Hariri received a delegation from the town of Kalamoun, headed by the President of the Municipality Talal Dankar, in the presence of the sister of the Lebanese citizen detained in Iran Nizar Zakka, Maha Zakka.
“We learned that Nizar suffers from difficult health conditions, so we are afraid that his health will deteriorate and that he will return to us dead,” read the statement, which Zakka’s sister, Maha, read to Hariri.
“He has been thrown in Evin Prison without committing any offense.”
Zakka recounted how her family lost contact with her brother who was kidnapped after went to Iran on an official invitation to participate in a conference.
“Even the Lebanese ambassador to Iran is not in contact with him,” she complained, calling on President Aoun and Premier Hariri to do what they can to help bring back Nizar safely from Iran.
After the meeting, Dankar said: “We discussed with Prime Minister Hariri the case of the son of Kalamoun Nizar Zakka, who has been detained for more than two and a half years and is suffering from a difficult and unclear health situation. What we heard from Premier Hariri assured us regarding his detailed follow up on this issue. He told us he will inform us soon about the latest developments in this case and we hoped that this file would end with his safe return.”
Zakka was arrested after traveling to Iran to attend a state-sponsored conference in the capital, Tehran, in 2015. At the time of his arrest, he was the secretary-general of IJMA3, an Arab communications organization, and had received an official invitation to visit Iran.