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I need help, Zakka tells Lebanese govt from Iran cell
 
 
 
 
 
 
25-11-2017
 
BEIRUT: Lebanese national detained in Iran Nizar Zakka pleaded for help from the Lebanese government Friday in a phone call with The Daily Star. 'It's unbelievable that Lebanese authorities have not done anything to help me,” Zakka said.

Zakka was arrested after traveling to Iran to attend a state-sponsored conference in Tehran, in 2015. At the time of his arrest, he was the secretary-general of IJMA3, the Arab Information and Communications Technology Organization.

But the Lebanese national was adamant regarding his innocence, saying: 'I was invited to Iran by [then]-Vice President Shahindokht Molaverdi and I was kidnapped on the way to the airport.”

Molaverdi had issued the invitation as well as the visa. Zakka was sentenced to a decade behind bars following a closed-door trial in September 2016 and faces a $4.2 million fine.

'I have done nothing wrong, but I am still stuck here,” Zakka said, frustration in his voice.

But despite repeated calls by the United States and Zakka's family members for Zakka's release, the Lebanese government has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.

'[Foreign Minister] Gebran Bassil has not issued a statement or anything regarding my case,” Zakka said. When contacted by The Daily Star, Bassil said: 'We did and [are] still doing what we can.”

'If Lebanese authorities don't take a stand, then how will any Lebanese feel safe?” Zakka asked.

As for the Iranian government, Zakka said it knew he was not guilty. 'Iran knows that I'm innocent, but they are stuck.”

In another appeal to the Lebanese government, Zakka said: 'I need help. The Lebanese authorities need to help me.”

Earlier this month, Lebanon was called upon to join an international coalition of countries whose citizens are being held by Iran, in order to help free the detainees, Zakka's lawyer said at the time.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry was reportedly informed on Nov. 14 by the Lebanese Embassy in Washington about U.S. Senate Resolution 245, which pertains to Zakka's fate.

Zakka's lawyer, Antoine Abou Dib, said that the resolution, dated Oct. 31, 2017, included a request to the Lebanese government to join an international coalition of countries to free their citizens.

The Foreign Ministry had passed on the information regarding the resolution to the Justice Ministry to inform concerned parties via their legal representatives of the resolution's contents.

Justice Ministry Salim Jreissati did not respond to requests for comment.

joseph habboush
المصدر : the dailystar
 
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