Washington, DC – On Tuesday April 7, 2015 the DC-area Iranian-American families of Iranians residing in Camp Liberty in Iraq held a gathering at the DC Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The protesters condemned Iraq’s illegal detention of Mr. Safar Zakeri, a resident of Camp Liberty and called on the UNHCR to take action to secure his immediate release.
On March 16, 2015, Mr. Zakeri was detained by the Iraqi authorities after an Iraqi SWAT Forces’ Humvee rammed into the sewage truck he was driving. Police officers at the scene determined that the Humvee’s driver was at fault. However, in a highly questionable move, local policemen took Mr. Zakery into custody and despite UNHCR’s call for his release, he has become a virtual hostage at the hands of the Iraqi Government.
Mr. Zakery, 60, has been declared a ‘protected person’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention by the United States since 2004 and recognized as a ‘person of concern’ and ‘entitled to international protection’ by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) since 2011.