Middle East/North Africa

Iran executes journalist who sought asylum in France


Iran on Saturday executed 42-year-old dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who was known for running a counter-revolutionary Telegram news network with over one million followers.

The Iranian government convicted Zam of fomenting violence at anti-government protests in 2017, and the country’s Supreme Court uphold the death sentence for Zam in a statement Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Zam fled Iran to live in exile in France for years, but was lured back to the country in October 2019 when he was captured in a “complex operation using intelligence deception,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said.

On Saturday, state TV reported the “director of the counter-revolutionary Amadnews network, was hanged this morning.”

Press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced Zam’s execution Saturday, with France and other human rights groups condemning the Supreme Court’s decision.

“RSF is outraged at this new crime of Iranian justice and sees (Supreme Leader Ayatollah) @ali_khamenei as the mastermind of this execution,” the group tweeted.

Officials in Iran have accused opponents of the government of stoking unrest in the region in 2017 following extensive economic hardship.

The worst of the 2017 protests resulted in the deaths of 21 people, and was followed by deadlier protests in 2019 against rising fuel prices.

Zam’s Amadnews feed, which existed on the encrypted Telegram messaging service, was suspended by Telegram in 2018 for allegedly inciting violence. The newsfeed reemerged later under a different name.

He is the son of a Shiite cleric Mohammad Ali Zam, a reformist who previously worked in an Iranian government policy position in the early 1980s, CBS News reported.

In a social media post to his Instagram account Saturday, Zam’s father said authorities did not notify him that his son had been executed.

Tags Iran Iranian people Reporters Without Borders Ruhollah Zam Telegram

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