Iran Executes Dissident Journalist Abducted In Iraq Last Year
Rouhollah Zam, journalist and the admin of the dissident Telegram channel Amad News was executed early Saturday. According to his wife, Zam was lured to Iraq in September 2019 and was kidnapped and transferred to Iran by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and later sentenced to death.
The spokesperson for the Islamic Republic’s judiciary announced four days ago that the supreme court of Iran had approved Zam’s sentence.
Zam’s closed-door trial began in February 2020 presided over by the notorious judge Abolqasem Salavati, known among Iranian political dissidents as the “hanging judge”. His trial ended in May 2020. The proceedings were secret and Zam was not allowed to choose a defense attorney.
Among the charges brought against him were spying for Israeli and French intelligence services, cooperation with the "enemy" United States, gathering classified information with the intent to present to others. Zam's media channel frequesntly published information about the Islamic Republic's inner dealings and corruption.
The court also charged Zam with “assembly and conspiracy with intent to commit crimes against national and international security”, encouraging people "to wage war and riot, effective persuasion of devoted members of the armed forces to mutiny, desert, or refuse to perform their military duties”.
The Judiciary announced at the end of May that the court had recognized 13 of Zam’s charges as “corruption on earth”, a crime punishable by death, and he has also received prison sentences in other cases.
Ten days after the preliminary court issued its verdict, the state-TV (IRIB) broadcasted a program titled “Interview with Rouhollah Zam”. The interview was recorded in the Evin prison’s Ward 2-A which belongs to the IRGC.
In the “interview” Zam states that from day one he was told he would receive the death sentence.
The program was broadcasted nine months after Zam’s wife Mahsa Razani reported his husband’s kidnapping in Iraq and two weeks after he received the death sentence from Judge Salavati.
A week before his TV interview, his father Mohammad Ali Zam addressed Ebrahim Raisee, the chief of the judiciary, on his Instagram page and said his son’s trial procedure was against “Islamic fair trial and justice”.
Mohammad Ali Zam himself was once a close ally of the leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He told authorities that during the trial, his son was not in good mental health and was not allowed to contact his wife and daughter, and his interrogators were even present at his meetings with his appointed attorney.