The daughter of Ruhollah Zam, the journalist executed on December 12, has talked publicly about the last conversation she had with her father.
In an audio file posted on her grandfather's Instagram page, Niaz Zam said her father told her on the phone: “Many things may have happened, but whatever you do, stick to your studies!"
He also asked his daughter to take care of her mother and sister.
Ruhollah Zam called his daughter, who is based in France, on December 12 at about 4am Iranian time, close to the time of the morning call to prayer, and spoke of "meeting on the Day of Judgment.”
Posting on Twitter, Niaz Zam said her father had contacted her via WhatsApp using a number beginning with 0044, which is the country code for the United Kingdom.
On Wednesday, December 16, Ruhollah Zam's mother delivered a short message standing beside her son’s grave with her husband. "Twenty minutes in the gallows; the world has risen for your oppression,” she said. The message was widely shared on social media in Persian and English.
Zam's mother was referring to a report by the Human Rights Activists News Agency that said the body of Ruhollah Zam had been left on the gallows for 20 minutes until the arrival of the head of the Karaj police force, who had arrived late at the execution site.
Zam was the founder of the independent Amad News website and Telegram channel, and had been targeted by Iranian security services for his negative coverage of Iran, in particular his reporting on protests in late 2017. In 2019, agents lured him to Baghdad, where they abducted him. He was executed just days after being told his verdict had been upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court, but he was not given advanced notice of when he was going to be hanged.
Zam's lawyer said that there were only 72 hours between the announcement of the death sentence and the execution, but due to the closure of the judiciary on Thursdays and Fridays, he did not have the opportunity to submit a request for retrial.