Reporters Without Borders: Ruhollah Zam's life is in danger
In a statement on its website, Reporters Without Borders (RFC) expressed concerns about the trial procedure of Ruhollah Zam, the director of Amad News Telegram channel and warned that his life could be in danger.
The statement reads: “Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is extremely concerned about AmadNews website editor Rouhollah Zam’s trial, which began in Tehran on 10 February. Kidnapped in Iraq by Revolutionary Guards last October and forcibly returned to Iran, Zam is being tried on 17 charges, some of them punishable by death under Islamic law.”
“Pro-government media that attended the first hearing in his trial before a Tehran revolutionary court have published photos showing masked security agents in a nearly empty courtroom and a visibly tired Zam sitting opposite Abolghasem Salavati a judge widely known as one of the worst “executioners” of Iranian journalists. There is no sign of a defense lawyer,” the statement continues.
The 17 charges against Zam include two that are punishable by death. One is spying, and the other is “spreading corruption on earth,” a religious term that implies that corruption pervades the defendant’s very soul and being and it is one of the most serious charges that can be brought before a revolutionary court.
According to Zam’s family, officials advised him: “Don’t make things worse for yourself by asking for a lawyer.” Prisoners of conscience, including journalists, are often told this during interrogation. Defendants are denied the most basic rights when tried before revolutionary courts, which even Iran’s official laws regard as illegal.
Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk said: “Rouhollah Zam’s safety and life are threatened by this grossly unfair trial. We call on Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, Seong-Phil Hong, the head of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, to intervene quickly in this case.”