Zam was found guilty of “corruption on earth,” a judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaeili told reporters Tuesday. The term does not specify a single crime, but it is a charge that the Iranian government sometimes uses in cases of alleged attempts to overthrow the government.
Zam, who had been living in France, was arrested last year. The circumstances of how — and where — he was detained remain unclear.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed that the journalist had been “illegally kidnapped and arrested.”
Iran has accused Zam of working with US, French and Israeli intelligence who provided him with “overt and covert” protection, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.
Following his arrest, Iranian authorities released a video of Zam in a car, wearing black-out goggles. The video also shows him sitting in front of a camera, making an “apology” for his actions.
Iran has been “one of the world’s most repressive countries for journalists for the past 40 years,” with at least 860 journalists and citizen journalists imprisoned or executed since 1979, according to non-profit Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The country ranks 173 of 180 in RSF’s annual world press freedom ranking, three places lower than the previous year.