German ambassador in Iran summoned over EU criticism of journalist's execution

Photo: Reuters Ruhollah Zam pictured during his trial in Tehran on 2 June

Iran has reportedly summoned the ambassador of Germany, current holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, over EU criticism of the execution of an Iranian journalist, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also plans on Sunday to summon the French envoy to Tehran, the semi-official Fars news agency said, as France also strongly criticised the execution on Saturday of dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who had been based in Paris before he was captured and taken to Iran.

Zam, who was convicted for fuelling anti-government unrest during nationwide protests some three years ago, was captured in 2019 after years of living in exile in France. He was sentenced to death in June.
Zam’s website and a channel he created on the popular messaging app Telegram had spread the timings of the protests and embarrassing information about officials that directly challenged Iran’s government.  The demonstrations represented the biggest challenge to Iran since the 2009 Green Movement protests and set the stage for similar mass unrest in November 2019.

His Amad Newsfeed had more than a million followers.

“The European Union condemns this act in the strongest terms and recalls once again its irrevocable opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances,” the EU said in a statement after his execution.

Afterward, the French Foreign Ministry called the execution a “barbaric and unacceptable act”, saying in a statement: “France condemns in the strongest possible terms this serious breach of free expression and press freedom in Iran.”

Amnesty International and press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have also expressed outrage the execution.

Tara Sepehri Far, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, called the escalation “a shocking escalation in the use of the death penalty against dissidents”, adding that Zam was executed on “vaguely defined national security charges”.

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