Iran’s Judiciary announced on Sunday Lebanese-American prisoner Nizar Zakka has not been released yet, rejecting earlier media reports that he has been pardoned at the request of Lebanese leaders.
Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili made the remarks shortly after the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei granted clemency to 691 prisoners on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr at the request of the Judiciary chief.
Zakka, who is convicted of cooperating with the US intelligence service, was expected to be among those who received the clemency.
However, Esmaeili said that the Judiciary did not include his name in the list of suggestions submitted to the Leader’s office.
A source familiar with the case had told The Daily Star Saturday that Zakka will arrive in Beirut within 48 hours.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced earlier this week that Iran had agreed to free Zakka after President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil asked that he be released as a good-willed gesture for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Esmaeili confirmed that the Iranian Judiciary has received a request from the Lebanese president regarding his release, and Zakka himself has also asked to be released on bail.
The requests are being studied within the framework of the country’s legal rules and regulations, and the Judiciary will announce its final decision in case of achieving any result, he added.
Zakka was arrested during a trip to Iran in 2015 on charge of having “deep links” to US intelligence services.