Statement on the Continued Unlawful Detention of Internet Freedom Advocate Nizar Zakka
Earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee convened to markup H.R. 4744 – Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, which was passed by the Committee and now goes to the House Floor for a vote. The measure, if passed by the House, would impose additional sanctions with respect to serious human rights abuses of the Government of Iran, and on Iranian officials involved in hostage-taking of U.S. citizens and U.S. Legal Permanent Residents.
Continue reading UPDATE 21- Zakka Family Thanks Congress For Their Efforts
On April 5, 2017, U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) re-introduced the Congress a bill which increases sanctions against the Ortega regime for it’s abuses against democracy and human rights. H.R.1918 – the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017 was motivated by the lack of democracy, rule of law and transparency in Nicaragua, and specifically by the Ortega regime.
While the Foundation cannot lobby, it supports the concept of proposals such as the NICA Act because it helps raise awareness of growing problems in Nicaragua where the government has turned the tools of state against political opponents. The Foundation is helping a victim of political persecution in Nicaragua. You can learn more it here.
Continue reading La Prensa Editorial on The Nica Act
On April 13, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC“) issued a notice that several Iranian entities would be sanctioned for human rights violations. The press release states:
“OFAC also designated the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, a senior official within Iran’s State Prison Organization, in connection with serious human rights abuses in Iran. These designations are pursuant to E.O. 13553, which targets serious human rights abuses by officials of, and persons acting on behalf of, the Government of Iran since the June 2009 Iranian election.”
Continue reading UPDATE 7-The Continued Unlawful Detention of Nizar Zakka
Friday, 23 September 2016
On Thursday, September 22, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, offered an amendment during the Floor debate of on H.R. 5931 – Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act. The measure, which passed in the House, included an amendment by Rep. Pompeo that prohibit ransom payments to any nation and sanctions Iranians responsible for holding U.S. nationals, including citizens as well as U.S. Legal Permanent Residents.
In his remarks, Rep. Pompeo discussed the unlawful detention of Mr. Nizar Zakka, a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and internet freedom advocate who was sentenced earlier this week to 10 years prison – a hostage of the Iranian regime (see video embedded below).
Mr. Zakka was kidnapped after traveling to Tehran for a conference at the invitation of the Iranian government to discuss women’s empowerment and the Internet.
Rep. Pompeo released the following statement after the bill was approved by the House of Representatives:
“Although the American people consider prohibitions on ransom payments to be U.S. policy, given the administration’s recent actions, we have to make this prohibition explicit.”
“Ransom payments put a price on the head of every American traveling abroad. This bill prohibits the United States government from making a payment to secure the release of unjustly detained U.S. nationals or lawful residents. Our constituents have told us this is an unacceptable use of their taxpayer dollars, and we are acting.”
More information on the detention and unjust verdict handed down against Mr. Zakka, please read more here.