Friends of Nizar Zakka Call on Secretary Kerry to Take Action Now to Free Imprisoned US Permanent Resident

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100 supporters issued a letter to Secretary of State Kerry calling on him to mount a humanitarian effort to obtain the release of Nizar Zakka, a US permanent resident

Over one hundred supporters today issued a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling on him to mount a humanitarian effort to obtain the release of Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident of Lebanese citizenship imprisoned in Tehran, Iran. Zakka, an information and communication (ICT) technology consultant, has led ICT for development projects funded from organizations from corporations like Cisco and Microsoft, to the US State Department. Zakka’s fateful trip to Iran to promote ICT for women which resulted in his imprisonment was funded by State.

“Nizar is a man without a country when it comes to getting assistance on his behalf,” said David Ramadan. “The Lebanese government has failed their responsibility; and Nizar is a contractor for the State Department thus the U.S. government owes him their best efforts. We call on Secretary Kerry to intervene personally with the Iranian leadership to obtain Nizar’s freedom, both as a humanitarian and a moral issue.”

Zakka, a Department of State contractor, has been a permanent resident of the U.S. since 2013 and resides in Washington, DC. He is one of the founding members of The Arab ICT Organization – IJMA3, which was formed to represent a regional alliance of information and communication technology (ICT) organizations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Today, the member organizations represent 18 ICT organizations, across 14 countries. In addition to being an advocate for the ICT industry, IJMA3 works on projects in the field of ICT for Development (ICT4D), which aim to promote income generating opportunities and improved livelihoods for people across the MENA region, particularly youth.

Zakka travelled to Tehran on September 11, 2015 under invitation from the Iranian government to participate in a conference on entrepreneurship and employment at the Second International Conference & Exhibition on Women in Sustainable Development in Tehran. On September 18th, Nizar was scheduled to travel to Beirut, but never arrived. Unofficial reports indicated that he checked out of his hotel but was arrested while he was on his way to the airport. On November 3rd, 2015 the Associated Press reported that the Iranian state-sponsored television station aired a piece indicating that Nizar Zakka had been arrested, with allegations of him being an American spy. (See: Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-lebanese-born-technology-envoy-arrested-for-ties-with-us-military/2015/11/03/62feb158-8235-11e5-9afb-0c971f713d0c_story.html)

Ramadan has led an ad-hoc effort of friends and colleagues to obtain Zakka’s release, organizing a website http://www.FriendsOfNizarZakka.com and meeting with Members of Congress to raise attention and interest in his predicament.

Ramadan calls on friends and supporters to visit the website to support this effort and obtain Zakka’s return.

Ramadan is available to discuss the background of Zakka’s case and to update reporters on specific efforts on his behalf.

Contact: David Ramadan, co-Founder
Friends of Nizar Zakka
(703) 945-1741

info(at)FriendsOfNizarZakka(dot)com

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David Ramadan

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