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Lebanese Security Head Travels to Tehran to Discuss Nazar Zaka’s Release

Head of Lebanon’s General Security Maj Gen Abbas Ibrahim has flown to Tehran to secure the release of the Lebanese national and permanent US resident Nazar Zaka who was convicted of spying and served in jail for the past four years, the Lebanese media reported on Sunday.

General Security, one of the main Lebanese security bodies, announced that Maj Gen Ibrahim left Beirut for Tehran Sunday afternoon, the National reported on Sunday.

The report came a day after local newspaper The Daily Star quoted sources saying that Mr Zaka would return within 48 hours.

“Major General Abbas Ibrahim left Beirut this afternoon for Tehran to complete efforts to release Lebanese citizen Nazar Zaka,” General Security said in a tweet on Sunday.

Iran’s judiciary announced on Sunday that it will soon make a final decision on releasing Lebanese-American citizen, Nazar Zaka, who was convicted for spying and served in jail for several years.

Iran’s Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Esmayeeli told FNA that Zaka and Lebanese political officials have appealed for his release, and the Judiciary is studying the request in a single, specific case.

He dismissed reports that Zaka has been one of the 691 inmates paroned by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on the occassion of Eid al-Fitr – marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – and said the decision on Zaka is to be made in a separate single case.

Asked if Zaka is to be swapped with anyone or if there is to be any prerequsites for his release, the spokesman said, “His freedom is under study as a special case, but there is yet no condition specified for his release.”

Zaka was arrested in 2015 on espionage charges. Sources told the Iranian state TV at the time that he had “deep ties” with the US military and intelligence services.

Zaka’s photographs showed him in military uniform at a US base in the Riverside county, California.

Reports said he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $4.2 million (Dh 15.4m) fine on charges of espionage.

The National said Lebanese officials have been mediating for his release.

Zakka is a prominent IT expert who specializes in Arab information and communications systems. He has worked for US IT and telecoms giants such as Cisco and Microsoft but has also done contracts with USAID, the American government development agency.

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