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Dissident Abducted In Iraq And Taken To Iran Sentenced To Death

Ruhollah Zam, a dissident journalist and activist, was captured by Iranian security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan last October. FILE PHOTO.

Ruhollah Zam, a dissident opposition journalist and activist who was captured by Iranian security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan last October, has been sentenced to death for the most serious crime in the Islamic Republic.

According to Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili who was speaking at a briefing, the court has found 13 of the charges brought against Zam, including spying for France and Israel, as proof of "corruption on earth" which bears a death sentence according to Iran's Islamic Penal Code.

Esmaili said Zam has also been sentenced to prison terms for lesser charges. The sentence is not final and can be appealed.

Iranian authorities have accused Zam and AMAD News the Telegram channel that he ran from exile, of inciting protesters in 2017-2018 to violent acts. The protests that extended to around 100 cities across the country left a death toll of a minimum of 30 protesters.

AMAD is the Persian acronym for Awareness, Combat, and Democracy. Amad News was later renamed as Seday-e Mardom (Voice of the People).

During his trial by the Revolutionary Court the 46-year-old Zam refuted all the charges brought against him by the prosecutor, including the charges of "collusion to take criminal action against national security ", espionage, and "insults against sanctities".

Iran's Judiciary has also sentenced three young man to death for taking part in November 2019 protests claiming they committed armed robbery, kidnapping and acts of harassment against people".

Esmaili claimed that most of those arrested in the protests have been released from custody but added: "There are a few who rioted, set fire to public property, and worse than that, killed people. They must be punished".

The claims against Zam or the protesters cannot be verified as security related trials in Iran are held behind closed doors without due process of law.

Zam was abducted and taken to Iran apparently during a visit to Iraq last October. It appeared at the time that he was somehow lured to leave his home in Paris and travel to Iraq by Iranian intelligence.