Earlier today, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing titled, “The Status of American Hostages in Iran.” Mr. Omar Zakka, the youngest son of Mr. Nizar Zakka, testified before the Committee on Nizar’s ongoing unlawful detention.
Statement on U.S. Congressional Hearing to Secure Release of Hostages in Iran
Zakka Family Appreciates Continued Support Of The U.S. Congress
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing today, The Status of American Hostages in Iran. Mr. Omar Zakka, the youngest son of Mr. Nizar Zakka, testified before the Committee. Mr. Zakka is a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and U.S.-based ICT professional who has been held hostage in Iran since 2015.
“We ask this government to take all available legal and diplomatic measures to reunite us with our father. We ask this government to do the same for all the families of the other hostages. Help us reunite with our father,” Omar told members of the committee this afternoon. His testimony is available at the Committee website.
The Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) is a long-time human rights champion and has been working for several years to secure the release of Americans and U.S. LPRs unlawfully detained in Iran and elsewhere. Rep. Deutch in his opening remarks stated:
“Iran’s despicable practice of holding American’s and other foreign nationals hostage should not be tolerated by any responsible nation.” He went on to discuss Mr. Zakka’s case emphasizing his unjust detainment. “Nizar is an IT professional who was invited to Iran to participate in an IT conference. Let me say that again. He was invited to the country. And then detained.”
Chairman Deutch and Ranking Member Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) announced at today’s hearing a number of Congressional proposals to strengthen U.S. hostage policy including the ‘‘Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act of 2019.” A Congressional resolution has also been introduced on Iran hostages.
“This is the second time Omar has presented his dad’s case to the Congress and, frankly, Omar hopes it will be the last time. As many as 12 nations appear to have foreigners unlawfully deprived of liberty in Iran. Nizar’s case and others like it are an international problem that requires multilateral cooperation, including nations in a position to help such as Lebanon. Talks based solely on humanitarian issues should be established with Iran to help Nizar and other hostages. With political will it’s possible to bring him home soon,” said Jason Poblete, Mr. Nizar Zakka’s attorney in the United States.
Follow this link for more information about the hearing, including Omar’s testimony and video clips of the hearing.