Executed Iranian journalist Zam falsely promised release, not given execution notice

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Executed Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam was falsely promised release in a prisoner exchange by Iran’s authorities, who also gave him no notice of his execution, his father said on Saturday.

Zam, who Iran had convicted of inciting violence during anti-government protests in late 2017, was executed on Saturday, state media reported. He ran Amadnews, a channel on popular messaging app Telegram which had over a million followers.

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Zam’s father, Mohammad-Ali Zam, a cleric who served in senior government positions in the 1980s and 1990s, said in an Instagram post that judicial authorities had falsely promised to release his son in a prisoner exchange.

Authorities “tricked” Zam into making false confessions and statements on that basis, claiming the confessions would facilitate the supposed prisoner swap, Zam’s father wrote.

Iranian state TV aired a series of televised confessions earlier this year over his work. Iran’s state broadcaster (IRIB) has a long history of airing purported confessions that activists and rights groups say are obtained through threats and torture.

Neither Zam nor his family were given notice for his execution, Zam’s father said, adding that Zam was also not informed the Supreme Court had upheld his death sentence.

Zam, who had been given political asylum in France and was also based in other parts of Europe, was captured in 2019 after years in exile. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said at the time they had “trapped” Zam in a “complex operation using intelligence deception.”

The IRGC did not say where the operation took place. Iranian media reported Zam was captured after travelling to Iraq.

Zam was sentenced to death in June, and his death sentence was upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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