Lebanese engineer detained in Iran, Nizar Zakka, informed Prime Minister Saad Hariri of the conditions of his “continued psychological torture and his appalling detention” in a telephone conversation on Thursday.
In September 2015, Zakka, secretary-general of IJMA3, the Arab Information and Communications Technology Organization, arrived in Tehran upon an invitation from Iranian then-Vice President for women and family affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi, to speak at the second international conference on the role of women in sustainable development.
He was kidnapped as he was heading to Tehran Airport at the end of the conference, and later news emerged about his imprisonment by the Iranian authorities.
In the autumn of 2016, an Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison with a $4.2 million fine on charges of cooperating against the state before his lawyer appealed the sentence.
Detained in Iran for nearly two years, Zakka asked Hariri Thursday why his government had yet to issue an official statement on his situation.
Lawyer Antoine Abou Dib, Zakka’s attorney, said that the latter “managed to contact Prime Minister Saad Hariri despite the difficulty of communication and continuous interruptions.”
Hariri told Zakka about his efforts, in coordination with President Michel Aoun and the Foreign Ministry, to get him released, according to a statement by Abou Dib.
The Lebanese engineer spoke about psychological torture and poor detention conditions.
“Zakka wondered why, to date, like in any other country and for less important matters, no official statement has been issued by the Lebanese government, the Parliament or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding his kidnapping,” the lawyer said in his statement.
Zakka also questioned why the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon “was not even summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for questioning about the case of kidnapping a Lebanese citizen.”
Hariri, for his part, stressed that he was raising the issue with every Iranian official visiting Lebanon.
According to the statement, the Lebanese premier expressed confidence that Aoun would raise Zakka’s case during his upcoming visit to Iran.