December 8, 2020
DUBAI (Reuters) -Iran said on Tuesday its Supreme Court had upheld a death sentence against a high-profile dissident journalist who was captured last year in what Tehran calls an intelligence operation, after years in exile in France.
Ruhollah Zam, whose Amadnews social media feed had more than 1 million followers, was convicted of fomenting violence during anti-government protests in 2017.
“Yes, the Supreme Court … has upheld the sentence passed by the Revolutionary Court in this case,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a news conference streamed live on a judiciary website.
The son of a pro-reform Shi’ite cleric, Zam fled Iran and was given asylum in France. In October 2019, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it had “trapped” Zam in a “complex operation using intelligence deception”. It did not say where the operation took place.
Iranian officials have accused arch-foe the United States as well as Tehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and government opponents living in exile of fomenting the unrest, which began in late 2017 as protests about economic hardship and spread nationwide.
Officials said 21 people were killed during the unrest and thousands were arrested. The unrest was among the worst Iran has seen in decades, and was followed by even deadlier protests last year against fuel price rises.
Zam’s Amadnews feed was suspended by messaging service Telegram in 2018 for fomenting violence but has reappeared under another name.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Catherine Evans and Peter Graff)
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