Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Internet Freedom Advocate & Hostage Nizar Zakka
This week marks the second year that Internet freedom advocate and prisoner of conscience Nizar Zakka has been unlawfully detained in Iran after being invited by Iranian authorities to speak at an ICT Conference.
The following update is from Mr. Zakka’s family regarding his current health situation, which continues to deteriorate.
We continue to hope and pray for Nizar’s prompt release from Evin Prison. Nizar has lost more than 70 pounds, continues to suffer from several health ailments, and now he has a very serious gum infection that requires surgery. For reasons that we do not know, Evin prison officials refuse to provide Nizar with the medical attention that he needs. Using health as a weapon is cruel and a violation of human rights.
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.
More information about Mr. Zakka’s case can be found below.
Matter of Nizar Zakka – Hostage in Iran (YouTube)
Prior Statements and Releases