Iran executed a dissident on Saturday after convicting him of encouraging a wave of antigovernment protests in 2017 by way of an opposition Telegram channel he ran from exile in France, Iranian information retailers reported.
Ruhollah Zam ran Amad Information, a well-liked channel on the messaging platform Telegram, which he used to share logistical particulars concerning the protests that rocked Iran in late 2017. His posts included protesters’ movies that helped publicize the information of the rebellion at a time when the nation was attempting to suppress data.
He had been in exile in France since 2011 and lived there till 2019, when he flew to Iraq and was later captured by the highly effective Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. He was hanged after being convicted in June of the crime “corruption on earth,” which is usually used to explain makes an attempt to overthrow the Iranian authorities.
The press advocacy group Reporters With out Borders condemned Iran for hanging Mr. Zam.
The group stated on Twitter that it was “outraged at this new crime of Iranian justice and sees @ali_khamenei because the mastermind of this execution,” referring to Iran’s supreme chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
France’s overseas ministry additionally condemned the execution in a press release, calling it “a barbaric and unacceptable act” that undermined freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Iran.
Amad Information drew greater than one million subscribers, however in December 2017, Telegram shut it down after the Iranian authorities argued that it incited violence by encouraging protesters to use Molotov cocktails. Mr. Zam shortly created a brand new channel. His channels additionally harassed journalists, teachers and analysts whom they considered as not working to overthrow the Iranian regime.
Iran has lengthy sought to silence opponents at house and overseas, detaining dissidents in overseas international locations, blocking messaging apps to quell discontent and using brutal force against its own population, which final yr resulted within the deaths of a whole lot of protesters throughout widespread unrest within the nation.
How Mr. Zam ended up within the fingers of the Revolutionary Guards stays a thriller.
A divisive but well-known determine in Iran and within the nation’s diaspora, Mr. Zam had been on the lookout for funds to create a tv channel, based on Reza Moini, the pinnacle of the Iran-Afghanistan desk at Reporters With out Borders.
He was lured into taking the journey to Iraq, the place he hoped to fulfill with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, an influential Iraqi Shiite cleric with shut ties to Iran and a rival of Mr. Khamenei, to debate financing for his media enterprise, based on Mr. Moini.
Mr. Moini stated earlier this yr that Mr. Zam had printed data damaging to Mr. Khamenei and that he was desperately on the lookout for funds. He was underneath police safety till he left France in October 2019 for Baghdad, and disappeared in Iraq not lengthy after. The Revolutionary Guard Corps stated it had captured him however didn’t say the place.
Ruhollah Zam was the son of a senior and well-known cleric, Mohamad Ali Zam, the previous head of a authorities propaganda company. He was born the identical yr because the Islamic revolution that toppled the monarchy in Iran, and he was named after the founding father of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Mr. Zam went into exile after he was arrested in 2009 amid protests that rocked Iran within the aftermath of a contested presidential election. He left Iran for Malaysia after which France, the place he obtained political asylum.
On Saturday after information of Mr. Zam’s execution, his father posted a press release on his Instagram account. The senior Mr. Zam stated jail officers known as the household to go to his son on Friday, a day earlier than he was hung, however didn’t inform the household they had been about to hold out the execution.
The elder Mr. Zam stated the officers instructed the household to not inform his son that an appeals court docket had upheld his loss of life sentence. The household prayed and cried collectively, the assertion stated. Mr. Zam stated his son advised him that he had realized from interrogators the plan was for him to be exchanged in a prisoner swap and that the self-incriminating confessions he was pressured to make on video had been meant for present.
The 2017 protests which the youthful Mr. Zam helped publicize had been triggered by a bounce in meals costs however shortly become a nationwide rebellion towards Iran’s rulers, one of many greatest challenges the authorities confronted for the reason that Inexperienced Motion protests in 2009.
Safety forces cracked down on the protests by arresting thousands of demonstrators, and dozens of others had been killed. New protests final yr, this time triggered by a bounce in fuel costs, become the deadliest unrest for the reason that Islamic Revolution of 1979. In accordance with Amnesty Worldwide, at least 304 people were killed in the course of the rebellion.
Elian Peltier reported from London and Farnaz Fassihi from New York.