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Iran executes dissident journalist accused of inciting unrest

Iran has executed a dissident journalist, a 12 months after he was seized by the nation’s elite Revolutionary Guards in Iraq and forcibly repatriated to face trial.

Ruhollah Zam, 47, was hanged early on Saturday morning, Iranian state media reported. His household visited him the day gone by, however jail and judicial authorities had not informed them or him concerning the scheduled execution, Amnesty Worldwide stated.

“The authorities rushed to execute Ruhollah Zam in what we consider was a reprehensible bid to keep away from a global marketing campaign to avoid wasting his life,” stated Diana Eltahawy, Center East deputy director for the rights group.

“His execution is a lethal blow to freedom of expression in Iran and reveals the extent of the Iranian authorities’ brutal ways to instil worry and deter dissent.”

The execution was additionally condemned by the press freedom teams Reporters with out Borders and the Committee to Shield Journalists.

The son of a pro-reform Shia cleric, Zam had fled Iran within the wake of anti-government protests in 2009, saying he had been falsely accused of working with overseas intelligence companies. He lived in exile in Paris and ran a well-liked web site, AmadNews, and had a social media channel on the messaging app Telegram with greater than 1 million followers.

Through the 2017 protests, he shared the timings and different particulars of demonstrations, in addition to embarrassing details about officers and direct challenges to Iran’s Shia theocracy.

The demonstrations, sparked by a sudden soar in meals costs, have been the most important problem to Iran’s authorities for the reason that 2009 Inexperienced Motion protests and set the stage for comparable mass unrest in November 2019.

Telegram shut down his channel over Iranian authorities complaints it unfold details about find out how to make petrol bombs. The channel later continued underneath a distinct title. Zam denied inciting violence on Telegram.

In October 2019, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards stated it had trapped Zam in a “advanced operation utilizing intelligence deception”. It didn’t say the place the operation happened, however rights teams stated he was in Iraq on the time.

Quickly after his arrest was introduced, Iranian state TV aired a video of Zam blindfolded in a automobile, then confirmed him apologising for his actions, CPJ stated.

His trial started in February this 12 months and he pleaded not responsible however, in June, a courtroom sentenced Zam to demise, saying he had been convicted of “corruption on Earth”, a cost usually utilized in instances involving espionage or makes an attempt to overthrow Iran’s authorities.

On 8 December, the supreme courtroom upheld the demise sentence. France condemned the ruling as a “severe assault on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Iran” and known as on the nation to respect its worldwide human rights obligations.

Throughout an interview in July, Zam stated he had misplaced some 30kg since his arrest. His father stated in a letter to the top of Iran’s judiciary that the journalist had been held with out contact together with his household or attorneys for 9 months, Amnesty Worldwide stated.

His father stated Zam had solely been allowed to satisfy his court-appointed lawyer within the presence of safety officers.

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