Iran executed a dissident on Saturday after convicting him of encouraging a wave of antigovernment protests in 2017 via 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 sharelogistical 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 info.
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 commonly 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 mentioned 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 international ministry additionally condemned the execution in an announcement, calling it “a barbaric and unacceptable act” that undermined freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Iran.
Iran has lengthy sought to silence opponents at house and overseas, detaining dissidents in international international locations, blocking messaging apps to quell discontent and using brutal force against its own population, which final yr resulted within the deaths of lots of 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, in keeping with 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 satisfy 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, in keeping with Mr. Moini.
Mr. Moini mentioned earlier this yr that Mr. Zam had revealed info damaging to Mr. Khamenei and he was desperately on the lookout for funds. He was beneath police safety till he left France in October 2019 for Baghdad, and disappeared in Iraq not lengthy after. The Revolutionary Guard Corps mentioned it had captured him however didn’t say the place.
The 2017 protests have been triggered by a soar in meals costs however shortly became a nationwide rebellion in opposition to Iran’s rulers, one of many greatest challenges the authorities confronted for the reason that Inexperienced Motion protests in 2009.
Amad Information drew greater than 1,000,000 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 one.
Safety forces cracked down on the protests by arresting thousands of demonstrators, and dozens of others have been killed. New protests final yr, this time triggered by a soar in fuel costs, became the deadliest unrest for the reason that Islamic Revolution of 1979. In keeping with Amnesty Worldwide, at least 304 people were killed in the course of the rebellion.