An Iranian Jewish journalist, Simon Forzami, was executed last Tuesday night by a firing squad in Teheran. The news was first reported here last Thursday by the French news agency, Agence France Presse (AFP) for wham the veteran journalist worked for several years. However, sources in Paris confirmed only last Friday that Forzami was Jewish and had at one time been an active member of the Teheran Jewish community. He was reportedly the seventh Jew executed by the regime of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.
Forzami, who was 70 years old, headed for almost 20 years the main Teheran French-language daily, “Journal de Teheran,” serving as its editor and publisher. After the paper closed down following the takeover of the Iranian government by the Ayatollah, Forzami started working for the AFP as a translator and reporter. Arrested last February, his trial was held in camera and the verdict was kept secret.
Teheran’s “Islamic judge,” Hadjatoleslam Guihani, said at the time that Forzami was arrested on the basis of documents found at the American Embassy after its occupation by the Islamic students. He said these documents showed that Forzami was paid a monthly stipend by the “American imperialist spies.”
EXPLAINED SOURCE OF STIPEND
Forzami, according to French sources, explained at the time of his arrest that he was paid for various translations and that he needed this ? They to “supplement his meager income from the AFP. The Swiss-born Jewish journalist was executed in Teheran’s Evin Central Prison where 337 people have already been executed since the Ayatollah came to power. Guihani, the man who is believed to have been the presiding judge at the trial, later said he was “ashamed that not mare enemies of the people and of Islam” have been executed. According to Teheran Radio, he promised to be “more vigilant” in the future.
(In New York, the Jewish Labor Committee today called on the United Nations Human Rights Commission to investigate the execution of Farzami. The Committee noted that this execution and that of an Iranian Jewish community leader a year ago, Habib Elghanian, “would make it appear that the Iranian government is intent on intimidating Iranian Jewry.” Elghanian was executed on the charge that he had contact with “Zionists.”)
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.