WITSA Welcomes Home Mr. Nizar Zakka After Nearly 4 Years of Captivity in Iran
June 11, 2019
WITSA Fairfax, VA: The World Information Technology and Services (WITSA) welcomed the safe return of Mr. Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese-born internet freedom advocate living in the U.S., who had been imprisoned in Iran for 1,350 days.
According to Mr. Zakka’s legal counsel, Mr. Jason Poblete, Nizar looks forward to reuniting with family and friends. Nizar expresses his sincerest thanks to those who never forgot him. Nizar also wants to remind those who can help that there remain many Americans, US Legal Permanent Residents, and other foreigners in Iranian prisons. Nizar grew close to some of these men; they need help and want to come home.
Mr. Zakka served on WITSA’s Board of Directors and was its Vice Chairman for the Middle East and Northern Africa region. Mr Zakka did not return from Tehran after participating in the Second International Conference & Exhibition on Women in Sustainable Development on September 18, 2015. Mr. Zakka, who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for spying for the U.S. government, was on his way to his native Lebanon on Tuesday, Mr. Poblete said.
Mr. Zakka is also one of the founding members of The Arab ICT Organization – IJMA3, which was formed to represent a regional alliance of 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.
WITSA had continually reached out to many relevant parties, condemning the unjust imprisonment to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Congress, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and to seek Mr. Zakka’s release.
The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is the leading recognized international voice of the global ICT industry, whose members from over 80 countries and economies represent more than 90 percent of the world ICT market. WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance industry growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in ICT products and services; strengthening WITSA’s national industry associations; and providing members with a broad network of professional contacts.
WITSA members are leaders in a globally interconnected marketplace. Because the challenges facing the ICT industry are undisputedly global in nature, WITSA members work together to achieve a shared vision on important issues of common interest. WITSA makes it possible for its members — ranging from Mongolia and Argentina to Kenya and the United States — to identify common issues and priorities, exchange valuable information, and present a united position on industry issues.