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France condemns death sentence for Iran opposition journalist

Rouhollah Zam

France and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), as well as Iran's Peace Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, have condemned the death sentence of Ruhollah Zam, a dissident journalist and activist, accused of allegedly fueling protests in 2017 in Iran.


The death sentence passed on Zam by the notorious judge Abolqasem Salavati was announced by the Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili on Tuesday.


France’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said the death sentence for Zam is “a serious blow to freedom of expression and press freedom in Iran" and described it as “unjust, inhumane and ineffective”. 


Reporters Without Borders in a statement on Tuesday said it is "shocked and dismayed by the death sentence" and called on Iran to overturn the "inhuman and unacceptable sentence".

 

On Tuesday in her Telegram channel, Iran's Peace Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi also condemned the death sentence and said his trial had not been "fair" and called the verdict "a politically-motivated sentence "devoid of any legal foundation" and "proof of injustice". In her Telegram post, Ebadi has also questioned the validity of Zam's confessions which were used as evidence against him because they were made under duress.


The forty-six-year-old Paris-based journalist was abducted in Iraqi Kurdistan last October and taken to Iran. The Revolutionary Court of Iran has found him guilty on 13 charges including spying for France and Israel, as proof of "spreading corruption on earth" which bears the maximum sentence of death.


After Zam's arrest and "confessions" the Revolutionary Guard claimed that Zam had been guided by the French intelligence service and was supported by the U.S., Israeli and other spy agencies.


Zam who had lived in self-exile in France for a decade was forced to appear on the state-run television to make so-called "confessions". He said that he was remorseful for what he had done and apologized to the Islamic Republic establishment.


In his "confessions" Zam said he had been "absolutely wrong" in trusting France, adding that trusting foreign governments, such as the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey was also wrong.

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