Iran journalist who fuelled 2017 protests sentenced to death

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran sentenced a journalist to death yesterday whose online work helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017.

Ruhollah Zam returned to Iran under unclear circumstances and was subsequently arrested. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced Zam’s sentence yesterday.

Zam ran a website called AmadNews that posted embarrassing videos and information about Iranian officials.

He had been living and working in exile in Paris before being convinced into returning to Iran, where he was arrested in October 2019.

Zam later appeared in televised confessions admitting his wrongdoings and offering an apology for his past activities.

Zam ran a channel on the messaging app Telegram that spread messages about upcoming protests in 2017 and shared videos from the demonstration. That gained him widespread notoriety at the time, including from Iranian authorities wanting to end the protests.

Telegram shut down the channel over Iranian government complaints it spread information about how to make gasoline bombs. The channel later continued under a different name.

Zam is the son of Mohammad Ali Zam, a reformist who once served in a government policy position in the early 1980s.

File photo shows university students attending a protest inside Tehran University while anti-riot Iranian police prevent them to join other protestors in Tehran, Iran. PHOTO: AP