Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Internet Freedom Advocate Nizar Zakka
Nizar Begins Fifth Hunger Strike, Iran Responds With Torture
Internet freedom advocate Nizar Zakka started his fifth hunger strike in Evin Prison this Tuesday. Nizar issued the following statement today:
“I will not sign a forced confession or accept anything less than my freedom and innocence. I would rather die with my head [held] high. I plead with those in a position to help, including the United Nations Secretary General and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, for my release, and the release of fellow innocent Americans and others being held in Iran.
After Nizar started his hunger strike on Tuesday, he says that Evin Prison guards increased the physical and psychological pressures on him. Among other things, they have put him on a very small surface, elevated high off the ground but without a ladder. Because of his weakened physical state, Nizar says that he has a very difficult time moving around and continues to fear for his life and safety.
Nizar’s lawyer in the United States, Jason Poblete, said that “Nizar and his family remain hopeful, despite the difficult circumstances, that the powers that be will be able to find a prompt resolution and secure Nizar’s release on humanitarian grounds. These violations of fundamental freedoms must stop.”
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.