Ruhollah Zam: Iran executes journalist accused of fanning unrest

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Iran has carried out the execution of a journalist who was accused of using a messaging app to stir up dissent.

Ruhollah Zam was hanged on Saturday after the supreme court upheld the death sentence against him, state television reported.

It is unclear how Zam, who had been living in exile in France, came to be arrested. He was reportedly detained after travelling to Iraq last year.

He ran the Amadnews website, a popular anti-government forum.

Iran accused Amadnews of inciting the nationwide protests of 2017-18.

The network, which had more than a million followers on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, shared videos of protests and damaging information about Iranian officials.

It was shut down by the Iranian government, but later reopened under a different name.

Iran protests 2017-18: Why was there unrest?
Profile: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
Zam, the son of reformist cleric Mohammad Ali Zam, was convicted of – one of the country’s most serious offences – earlier this year.

However, human rights organisation Amnesty International said he had been the victims of “an unfair trial that relied on forced confessions”.

Earlier this week, the French foreign ministry described the decision to uphold Zam’s death sentence as “a serious attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Iran”, according to Reuters news agency.

He had been granted political asylum in France, having been imprisoned in Iran after the disputed 2009 presidential election.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) previously said that it had used “modern intelligence methods and innovative tactics”, which enabled it to “deceive” foreign services and arrest Zam.

The IRGC alleged that Zam was “under the guidance” and protection of intelligence services in France, Israel and the US.

According to the Associated Press news agency, he later appeared on television and apologised for his actions.

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