Human Rights in Iran – Tuesday, June 30, 2020 / Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over Abolghassem Salavati, issued a verdict, sentencing Ruhollah Zam, a journalist and managing editor of Amad News website and its Telegram channel to death on 13 charges.
According to Human Rights in Iran quoting the state-run Mizan Online News Agency, today on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, Ruhollah Zam, a journalist and the manager of Amad News website and Telegram channel, was sentenced to death by branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, headed by Abolghassem Salavati, on charges of corruption on earth. This media activist was trialled and sentenced to death by the branch on 13 charges.
Gholam Hossein Esmaili, a spokesman for the Judiciary, claimed in a press conference with the media inside Iran: “The court ruled that 13 of the charges were related to corruption on earth, hence issued a death penalty for them. Prison sentence is determined for several other charges not related to corruption on earth, and the verdict is uncertain and can be appealed to the Supreme Court.”
It is worth mentioning that the first hearing of Ruhollah Zam’s case was held on February 10, 2020, the second hearing on February 16, and the third hearing on February 24. Also on May 4, 2020, the fourth hearing was held in private. Another hearing session was held on June 2, and the last hearing for the case of Ruhollah Zam was held on June 9, 2020, by branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over Abolghassem Salavati.
A total 17 charges against Ruhollah Zam, 13 of which are punishable by death, include: “corruption on earth, establishment and administration of Amad News Telegram channel and Sedaye Mardom (the voice of people) Telegram channel with the aim of disrupting the security of the country, spying for Israel intelligence services through one of the countries in the region, spying for the benefit of the France intelligence service, assembly and collusion to disrupt the internal and external security of the country, cooperation with the hostile US against the Islamic Republic of Iran, participation in propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic in favor of dissident groups and organizations, participation in deceiving and inciting people to war and killings in order to disrupt the security of the country, participation in collecting classified information to provide to others with the aim of disrupting the security of the country, membership and management of the opposition Saham News website in order to disrupt the security of the country, participation in widely spread of lies, effective incitement of militant forces and individuals serving in the armed forces to revolt, escape, surrender or failure to perform their military duties, insulting the sacred, insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini, insulting the country’s leader, Ali Khamenei, insulting the officials and officers on duty, acquisition of property through illegal means for a total of 1,397,550 euros and complaints from some natural and legal persons.”
Earlier, on February 4, 2020, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, a spokesman for the Judiciary, had told in a news conference that at the request of the Tehran Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor, branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, chaired by Abolghassem Salavati was selected to investigate the case of this journalist and media activist.
It should be noted that on October 13, 2019, Ruhollah Zam was deported to Iran by IRGC’S intelligence agents after his traveling from France to Iraq and being abducted.
In the global ranking of media freedom, which was compiled in 2019, by Reporters Without Borders, the Islamic Republic ranked 170th out of 180 countries in the world.
The suppression of press and media activists and the imposition of security charges against them are among the cases violating Human Rights, and is in the line of the repression of Freedom of Speech in Iran, which there is an emphasis on it in International Instrument of Human Rights, in Article19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on 16 December 1966.
Article 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that the accused shall be informed of the charges and provided access to a lawyer as soon as possible. Other defensive rights are mentioned in law, but extrajudicial actions taken by the security services violate the laws that they themselves drafted and claim to be enforced.
Also the individuals’ right to a fair trial is one of the inalienable rights accentuated in Article 10 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.