Iran passes death sen­tence, clears jail term in French-linked cases

Op­po­si­tion fig­ure Ruhol­lah Zam was ac­cused of play­ing an ac­tive role in 2017 anti-govt protests

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - AFP

Iran on Tues­day sen­tenced to death an op­po­si­tion fig­ure who had lived in ex­ile in France be­fore his ar­rest last year and separately up­held a 5-year jail term for a FrenchIra­nian aca­demic.

Both par­ties to a land­mark mul­ti­lat­eral nu­clear deal, Tehran and Paris have seen their re­la­tions de­te­ri­o­rate in the past year.

France was among the coun­tries that passed a res­o­lu­tion last week at the UN’s nu­clear watch­dog call­ing on Iran to clar­ify whether it had un­der­taken un­de­clared nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties in the early 2000s, in a move con­demned by the Is­lamic re­pub­lic.

The 2015 ac­cord gave Iran sanc­tions re­lief in ex­change for curb­ing its nu­clear pro­gram, but the agree­ment has been on life­sup­port since 2018, when the US uni­lat­er­ally with­drew and be­gan reim­pos­ing pun­ish­ing sanc­tions. Op­po­si­tion fig­ure Ruhol­lah Zam — who had re­port­edly been liv­ing in Paris be­fore Iran’s Is­lamic Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards Corps an­nounced his ar­rest in Oc­to­ber — was ac­cused of play­ing an ac­tive role in anti-gov­ern­ment protests sparked by eco­nomic hard­ship dur­ing the win­ter of 2017-18. Au­thor­i­ties said he in­cited un­rest through a chan­nel on the Tele­gram mes­sag­ing


“The court has con­sid­ered 13 counts of charges to­gether as in­stance of ‘cor­rup­tion on earth’ and there­fore passed the death sen­tence,” said ju­di­ciary spokesman Gho­lamhos­sein Es­maili. Cor­rup­tion on earth is one of the most se­ri­ous of­fenses under Iranian law.

Zam was also sen­tenced to time served over other charges, Es­maili


called added, not­ing that the sen­tences can be ap­pealed. The Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards de­scribed him as a “coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion­ary” who was “di­rected by France’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vice.” The Guards did not spec­ify when or where Zam had been ap­pre­hended.

Es­maili also an­nounced that a 5-year sen­tence for Iranian-French aca­demic Fariba Adelkhah had been up­held.

She was sen­tenced in May over “se­cu­rity charges in­clud­ing con­spir­ing against na­tional se­cu­rity,” and will “serve 5 years” in­clud­ing time served since her ar­rest, Es­maili told a news con­fer­ence.

A re­search di­rec­tor at Sciences Po university in Paris, Adelkhah was de­tained in June last year and has been in cus­tody ever since.

She is a dual na­tional, a sta­tus Iran does not rec­og­nize.

Her French col­league and part­ner Roland Mar­chal, who was de­tained around the same time while vis­it­ing her in Tehran, was freed in March in an ap­par­ent pris­oner swap. Mar­chal is also a re­searcher at the Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Re­search (CERI) at Sciences Po.

He was freed af­ter France re­leased Iranian en­gi­neer Jal­lal Ro­hol­lah­ne­jad, who faced ex­tra­di­tion to the United States over ac­cu­sa­tions he vi­o­lated US sanc­tions against Iran. Adelkhah and Mar­chal’s cases have been a thorn in re­la­tions be­tween Tehran and Paris for months.

FASTFACT Cor­rup­tion on earth is one of the most se­ri­ous of­fenses under Iranian law.

Ser­bian stu­dents wear­ing pro­tec­tive masks be­cause of the COVID-19 out­break take a university en­trance exam on Tues­day in the Bel­grade Fair hall.

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