Canadian permanent resident Saeed Malekpour facing life sentence in Iran

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mostafa Pourmohammadi
Minister of Justice for the Islamic Republic of Iran
Tehran, Valiasr St., No. 1816

Dear Minister,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE condemns the recent life sentence given to Canadian permanent resident Saeed Malekpour. While visiting family in Iran in 2008, Malekpour was arrested and charged with desecrating Islam, after photo uploading software that he designed was used to produce internet pornography. In 2012 CJFE expressed concern when Malekpour was sentenced to death sentence for these charges, as he has repeatedly denied any participation in or knowledge of these activities. Malekpour’s confession was also allegedly extracted following prolonged torture in prison.

Although the reduction of Saeed Malekpour’s sentence is an improvement, CJFE is still troubled by this punishment, as well as the intimidating effect it will have on others working online in Iran. Additionally, reports of forced confessions in Iran remain of concern.

CJFE calls on the Iranian government to repeal the life sentence of Saeed Malekpour and to undertake reforms of its Computer Crimes Law, which harshly criminalizes online activities that offend public morality and chastity, thus threatening freedom of expression.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran
The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs