Iran executed Ruhollah Zam, a dissident who allegedly called for regime change in Tehran and spied on Israel and France, underscoring the Islamic Republic’s stance of showing no mercy on the political opposition.
Zam, who had been in jail since his capture in October last year, was hanged after being charged with a long list of crimes including “cooperation with the hostile state of the United States”, causing unrest. to disrupt the security of the country. and insult its main leaders.
Zam confessed on state television, but the trial was held behind closed doors.
Amnesty International has called this conviction a shocking escalation in the use of the death penalty as a weapon of repression. “His execution is a fatal blow to freedom of expression in Iran and shows the extent of the brutal tactics of the Iranian authorities to sow fear and deter dissent,” Amnesty said.
The Iranian allegations center on the Amadnews channel, a popular anti-government forum on the Telegram messaging app that Zam ran. He used it to play an important role in the unrest three years ago, which at the time was the most widespread against the Islamic Republic and its economic policies.
Zam taught protesters how to brew Molotov cocktails and use them against security forces. He also made allegations of corruption and high profile affairs.
He operated the platform from Turkey and later in France, where he resided, and enjoyed the protection of the security forces.
Zam was lured to Iraq by Iranian intelligence services in October last year, arrested and brought to Iran.
Western diplomats in Tehran say how Iranian intelligence managed to convince him to visit Iraq when he was reportedly aware of the risks posed by Iran’s strong presence in the country was not Claire.
Zam’s family and friends said he was offered money in Iraq to start a TV channel and expand his opposition activities.
Iran makes no secret of the fact that it will pursue opposition figures wherever they are in the world.
The Intelligence Ministry said last month that a separatist leader, Farajollah Cha’ab, was arrested and returned to Iran. He is accused of leading a 2018 terrorist attack in southwest Iran – a country of Arab origin – targeting a military parade in which 25 soldiers and civilians were shot dead.
Jamshid Sharmahd, an Iranian-German national, is believed to have been detained in a neighboring country and brought to Iran earlier this year. He is accused of a deadly attack on a mosque in 2008 which killed 14 people.
The Islamic Republic has said it will show tolerance towards ordinary people who protest against their economic situation, but not those who cause unrest to overthrow the regime with the help of foreign governments.
Iranian analysts say the Islamic Republic is trying to respond to some international criticism of its human rights record. Iran has one of the highest execution rates in the world.
Around 40,000 prisoners have been released or have had their sentences reduced in the past two years, but most of them were convicted of crimes such as drug trafficking, not leaders of anti-regime protests. .
Zam was the son of Mohammad Ali Zam, a former reformist and ecclesiastical cultural leader. The two met on Friday, hours before the execution, on the condition that his father was not allowed to reveal that the death sentence had been approved.