Iran sentences journalist to death for inspiring mass protests against the Islamic regime

Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam, accused of inspiring mass protests against the Islamic regime in 2017, has been sentenced to death.

Zam ran a website called AmadNews that posted embarrassing videos and information about Iranian officials. He had been living and working in exile in Paris before being lured to Iraq then handed over to Iran, where he was arrested in October 2019.

“The court has considered 13 counts of charges together as instances of ‘corruption on earth’ and therefore passed the death sentence,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Tuesday.

According to Zam’s indictment, he was accused of having committed offenses against the country’s internal and external security” and “espionage for the French intelligence service”, alongside “corruption on earth,” a charge often used in cases allegedly involving espionage or attempts to overthrow the Islamic regime.

Zam ran a channel on the messaging app Telegram that spread messages about upcoming protests in 2017 and shared videos from the demonstration. That gained him widespread notoriety at the time, including from Iranian authorities.

Telegram shut down AmadNews after Iran demanded it removes the account for inciting an “armed uprising”.

Zam is the son of the Shia cleric Mohammad Ali Zam, who served in a government policy position in the early 1980s. The cleric wrote a letter published by Iranian media in July 2017 in which he said he would not support his son.