Live Discussion with Nizar Zakka

  • Jun 11, 2020
  • 07:00 Eastern Time (US & Canada)



Join Kambiz Tavana and Nizar Zakka for a live discussion on the one year anniversary of the Zakka's release from Iran as a falsely imprisoned political hostage.

"Zakka, who is in his 50s, is an advocate for internet freedom and is secretary-general of the Beirut-based Arab ICT Organisation (IJMA3), an alliance of information communications technology associations from 13 countries across the Arab world that has worked for the US government.

In September 2015, he travelled from his home in Washington DC to Tehran to attend the International Conference and Exhibition on Women in Sustainable Development.

He had been invited to speak by Iran's then Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi.

Zakka was arrested while on his way to the airport to leave the country by men believed to belong to the Revolutionary Guards and was transferred to Tehran's Evin prison, where he was kept in solitary confinement for almost a year.

In October 2016, the judiciary said Tehran's Revolutionary Court had sentenced Zakka to 10 years in prison for co-operating with a foreign enemy state - an allegation rejected by his family. An appeals court upheld the sentence at the end of 2017.

Last week, it emerged that Lebanon's president had asked the Iranian authorities to pardon Zakka as a gesture to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

On Tuesday, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced that the relevant court had agreed to Zakka's conditional release because he had served at least a third of his sentence and shown good behaviour.

Mr Esmaili revealed Iranian officials had been told by Hezbollah's leader that the move would be "expedient", but he insisted "no political issue has been involved", the judiciary's Mizan Online news agency reported."

- BBC, 6/11/2019

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