(Persia Digest) - Iran’s Judiciary says Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national serving a jail term in Iran for espionage for the United States, is set to be released, following mediation efforts by President Michel Aoun of Lebanon.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said a court had “agreed to Nizar Zakka’s conditional release and he will be handed over to Lebanese authorities.”
Press TV reports that Zakka, an information technology expert and a permanent US resident, was detained in Iran in 2015 and sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison and a $4.2 million fine for “collaborating against the state.”
The Iranian official further said both Aoun and Zakka had filed a request for the convict’s release.
Iran examined the request within the framework of the law, said the official.
“As per the law, those who are sentenced to up to 10 years in jail, if they have served at least one third of their term and shown good behavior” can be released conditionally.
Esmaili added that Tehran had also consulted the case with the Supreme National Security Council as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement. Hezbollah, he said, regarded Zakka’s release as an "expedient" move.
Meanwhile, Aoun told the online el-Nashra newspaper that he had intervened to prevent the prolongation of the case.
The Lebanese president said that he had "positive interactions" with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, regarding the case.
Aoun also said he had tasked Abbas Ibrahim, the head of Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security (GDGS), to personally follow up Zakka’s case.
Ibrahim, who is in Tehran to oversee Zakka’s release, told Reuters that he would return to Lebanon with Zakka.
“The release of Nizar Zakka will take place on Tuesday after the completion of the judicial proceedings, which are nearly over,” he added.
In a post on its official Twitter account, the GDGS shared two black and white images of Zakka shaking hands with Ibrahim after a meeting on Monday night.
It said Ibrahim would return with Zakka to Lebanon on Tuesday.
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