Fighting for Internet Freedom in Iran

Fighting for Internet Freedom in Iran

Nizar Zakka is a Lebanese national and US permanent resident who was arrested by Iran in 2015, and was imprisoned until 2019 on charges of espionage for the United States. Zakka worked as an Internet freedom advocate and served as secretary general of the Arab ICT Organization in Washington, D.C..

On September 8, 2018, the person who had invited Nizar to visit Iran, Shahindokht Molaverdi, the top aide for citizenship rights to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, told the Associated Press that the Iranian government had not approved Nizar’s imprisonment, and that “[w]e did all we could to stop this from happening, but we are seeing that we have failed to make a significant impact.” She blamed a “complete miscoordination” between Iran’s civilian government and its independent judiciary, adding that “actions by one branch can ignore or neutralize efforts by another branch”.

Despite the admission Iran was holding him against his will, Zakka remained a hostage in Iran until June 2019. With the sponsorship of his home country’s president, General Michel Aoun, Zakka was released from Iran on June 11, 2019, and flew straight to Beirut.

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