Zakka Announces Nomination for Vacant Tripoli Seatإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Nizar Zakka, who has been jailed in Iran since 2015, on Tuesday announced his nomination for the vacant Sunni parliamentary seat in Tripoli under the slogan “The Freedom Solution for Lebanon”.
“I'm Nizar Zakka, the ordinary Lebanese citizen who has been kidnapped in Iran since September 2015. I ask my people in each of Tripoli -- my mother's city -- and Qalamoun -- my hometown -- to grant me their confidence to be their roaring voice in parliament -- the voice of every ordinary citizen whose voice is absent or deliberately stifled,” Zakka said in a letter from his prison in the Tehran area of Evin.
“I'm an ordinary Lebanese who is looking forward to representing every ordinary citizen whose right has been lost in the state of no justice, whose voice has been usurped in the state of oppression, whose dignity has been lost in the state of clientilism and whose bread has been stolen in the state of the rich,” Zakka, who also holds a U.S. green card, added.
“My state has abandoned me and conspired against me as I lie kidnapped in one of the world's ugliest detention centers where I've been living since four years, in an underground grave surrounded by sewers and rats. My weak state is the same one that has abandoned you, my people in the Tripoli district... It has left you to deprivation, poverty, tyranny and agony,” Zakka went on to say.
And noting that his political views are largely in line with those of al-Mustaqbal Movement, Zakka said that “those who truly want to stand in the face of any hegemony will know very well whom to vote for.”
Zakka has been detained in Iran since 2015 over spying allegations. He was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison and a $4.2 million fine.
Zakka, who lived in Washington and held resident status in the U.S., was the leader of the Arab ICT Organization, or IJMA3, an industry consortium from 13 countries that advocates for information technology in the region. Zakka disappeared Sept. 18, 2015, during his fifth trip to Iran. He had been invited to attend a conference at which President Hassan Rouhani spoke of providing more economic opportunities for women and sustainable development.
On Nov. 3, Iranian state television aired a report saying he was in custody and calling him a spy with "deep links" with U.S. intelligence services. It also showed what it described as a damning photo of Zakka and three other men in army-style uniforms, two with flags and two with rifles on their shoulders. But that turned out to be from a homecoming event at Zakka's prep school, the Riverside Military Academy in Georgia, according to the school's president.