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Iran's Supreme Court Upholds Dissident Journalist's Death Sentence


Ruhollah Zam speaks at his trial at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on June 30.

Iran's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence handed to opposition journalist and activist Ruhollah Zam, whose online work helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili made the announcement on December 8. He did not say when the court issued its ruling.

Zam was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in June following what Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called a "grossly unfair" trial.

He was convicted of "corruption on Earth," a charge often leveled in cases involving espionage or attempts to overthrow Iran's government.

Zam's website, AmadNews, and a channel he created on the popular messaging app Telegram had informed people on the timing of the 2017 protests and published embarrassing information about Iranian officials.

The protests represented the biggest challenge to Iran since postelection mass unrest in 2009 and set the stage for similar revolts in November 2019. More than 20 people were killed during the unrest and thousands were arrested.

Zam's AmadNews feed was suspended by Telegram in 2018 but later continued under a different name.

Zam had been living and working in exile in Paris before being lured into returning to Iran, where he was arrested in October 2019 under still unclear circumstances.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had "trapped" the activist in a "complex operation using intelligence deception." It did not say where the operation took place. French authorities have "strongly condemned" the move.

Zam, whom the Paris-based RSF described as a "very controversial figure both in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora," appeared in televised confessions admitting his wrongdoings and offering an apology for his past activities.

He had previously denied allegations he incited violence but openly admitted that AmadNews's mission was to take down the government.

With reporting by AP
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