Ruhollah Zam: Iran sentences journalist to death for fanning unrest

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Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist who has reportedly been arrested by Iran's Revolutionary Guard CorpsImage source, @Rohoolah_Zam on Twitter
Image caption,
Ruhollah Zam ran the Amadnews website and Telegram channel

Iran has sentenced a journalist to death after accusing him of using a messaging app to stir up dissent.

Ruhollah Zam was found guilty of "corruption on earth", one of the country's most serious offences, a judiciary spokesman said.

Zam had been living in exile in France, but was arrested last year.

He ran the Amadnews website, a popular anti-government forum which Iran accuses of inciting the nationwide protests of 2017-18.

The news network, which has around 1.4m followers on encrypted messaging app Telegram, shared videos of protests and damaging information about Iranian officials.

It was shut down by the Iranian government, but later reopened under a different name.

Zam, the son of reformist cleric Mohammad Ali Zam, can appeal the verdict. He had previously denied the charges, BBC Persian reports.

Media caption,

Why people took to the streets of Iran in 2017-18

It is unclear how Zam came to be arrested. He had been granted political asylum in France, having been imprisoned in Iran after the disputed 2009 presidential election.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) said last year that it had used "modern intelligence methods and innovative tactics", which enabled it to "deceive" foreign services and arrest Zam.

The IRGC alleged that Zam was "under the guidance" and protection of intelligence services in France, Israel and the US.

According to the Associated Press news agency, he later appeared on television and apologised for his actions.