Iran Begins Trial of Opposition Figure Ruhollah Zam
Tehran court began the trial of opposition figure Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian in exile in France, who was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iraq last October, according to the French Press Agency (AFP).
Zam, a journalist-turned-activist who headed Telegram’s Amadnews with more than 1 million followers on social media, was based in France. Tehran accused him of carrying calls for violence on the channel during the protests in winter 2017-2018.
In the three years before his arrest, Zam published leaks of major cases involving senior officials and their children. He is also accused of revealing sensitive intelligence information on the deployment and role of al-Quds Force in Syria and Iraq.
Amadnews was suspended by the messaging app Telegram last year at the request of Iranian authorities, saying this channel incites violence, reported AFP.
However, after the closure, Telegram gave Amadnews another opportunity to broadcast, which further highlighted Iranian violations against the demonstrators.
Fars news agency, IRGC’s media platform, said that a representative of the public prosecutor read Zam indictment’s which includes 15 charges.
Among the other charges, he was suspected of having “committed offenses against the country's internal and external security” and “espionage for the French intelligence service”.
He was also accused of having insulted "the sanctity of Islam."
IRGC arrested Zam in October, in mysterious circumstances and accused him of “working with French intelligence and receiving support from the US intelligence and the Zionist regime.”
On Monday, Iranian state television announced it will broadcast a documentary revealing Zam’s connections.
Zam's father was an official close to the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, making it easier for him to communicate with sources and children of officials to leak confidential information of decision-makers in Iran.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on Iran to stop broadcasting videos of “confessions” by suspects, saying they “violate defendants’ rights.”