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BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Iran considers request for release of Lebanese prisoner

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LONDON (Reuters) – Iran has received an amnesty request from Beirut for a Lebanese citizen who was detained in 2015 for “collaborating against the state” but has yet to make a decision on the case, an Iranian judiciary spokesman said on Sunday.

Lebanon state news agency NNA last week quoted the foreign ministry as saying that Iran had agreed amnesty for Nizar Zakka, an information technology expert who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 and fined $4.2 million.

NNA also quoted media representatives on behalf of Zakka’s family as saying the initiative to release him had been successful and thanking President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

“We have received a request filed by the accused and other Lebanese officials to grant amnesty and release him. We are looking into this request as a special case,” Gholamhossein Esmaili, a judiciary spokesman, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Iranian state media reported on Sunday that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned about 700 prisoners, but Esmaili said Zakka’s name was not on the list of those pardoned.

Zakka, who also has permanent U.S. residency, had been invited to Iran by a government official in 2015 but then disappeared after attending a conference in Tehran. State media announced later that year that he had ties to U.S. military and intelligence services and had been detained by the Revolutionary Guards.

In 2017 Iranian state media reported that he had lost an appeal against the verdict in his case.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by David Goodman)

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