US Congress Approves Measure Banning Ransom Payments for US Hostages Held in Iran

On Thursday, September 22, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, offered an amendment during the Floor debate of on  H.R. 5931 – Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act. The measure, which passed in the House, included an amendment by Rep. Pompeo that prohibit ransom payments to any nation and sanctions Iranians responsible for holding U.S. nationals, including citizens as well as U.S. Legal Permanent Residents. 

In his remarks, Rep. Pompeo discussed the unlawful detention of Mr. Nizar Zakka, a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident and internet freedom advocate who was sentenced earlier this week to 10 years prison –  a hostage of the Iranian regime (see video embedded below).

Mr. Zakka was kidnapped after traveling to Tehran for a conference at the invitation of the Iranian government to discuss women’s empowerment and the Internet.

Rep. Pompeo released the following statement after the bill was approved by the House of Representatives:

“Although the American people consider prohibitions on ransom payments to be U.S. policy, given the administration’s recent actions, we have to make this prohibition explicit.”

“Ransom payments put a price on the head of every American traveling abroad.  This bill prohibits the United States government from making a payment to secure the release of unjustly detained U.S. nationals or lawful residents.  Our constituents have told us this is an unacceptable use of their taxpayer dollars, and we are acting.”

More information on the detention and unjust verdict handed down against Mr. Zakka, please read more here.

See Congressman Pompeo’s remarks below;

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