Iran executes dissident journalist for inspiring 2017 protests

Ruhollah Zam had been convicted of “corruption of Earth”, a charge used in cases of attempting to overthrow the Iranian Government


Iranian state television and the state-run IRNA news agency say that Iran has executed the 47-year-old Ruhollah Zam, a journalist who encouraged nationwide economic protests in 2017. He was reportedly hanged early morning on December 12.  

His website AmadNews which has more than 1 million followers and a channel created by him on the popular messaging application Telegram had spread the timings of the protests and embarrassing information about officials that directly challenged Iran’s Shi’ite theocracy. AmadNews was suspended by Telegram in 2018 for allegedly inciting violence but later reappeared under another name.

In June, 2020 a court in Iran had sentenced him to death, saying he had been convicted of “corruption on Earth”, a charge often used in cases involving espionage or attempts to overthrow Iran’s government, as reported by the Guardian.

Zam was the son of a pro-reform Shi’ite cleric, and had fled Iran to seek asylum in France. In October 2019, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps had trapped Zam in a “complex operation using intelligence deception” but it did not reveal where the operation had taken place.

Iran saw massive protests at the end of 2017 across 80 cities and towns against the rising prices of basic goods. The capital city of Tehran saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets to vent their anger at the entire establishment. Since then, 21 people have lost their lives in the clashes and over 1000 arrests have been made.  

The demonstrations were about the failure of President Hassan Rouhani’s government to revive Iran’s struggling economy, address high unemployment and alleged corruption. The citizens also resented the country’s decision of spending a lot of money on conflicts elsewhere in the Middle East when people were suffering back at home.


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