Saeed Malekpour faces death sentence in Iran

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mr. Kambiz Sheikh Hassani, Chargé d'affaires
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2K2

Dear Mr. Hassani,

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 strongly condemns the recent decision of Iran’s Supreme Court to uphold the death sentence for web programmer Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada.

Malekpour returned to Iran from Canada in 2008 to visit relatives. During this visit, he was arrested on charges of Internet pornography, after the photo uploading software he created was misused without his knowledge. In 2010, Malekpour wrote an open letter from prison in which he reported that he had been tortured until he admitted responsibility for crimes that he had not committed. He was subsequently sentenced to death in a trial where his lawyer was not permitted to be present.

Upholding Malekpour’s death sentence is only the latest in a series of recent actions by the Iranian government that intimidate individuals who exercise their right to free expression. Recently arrested netizens Simien Nematollahi and Mohammad Solimaninya are both examples of the intimidation being used against those working online. And, as we mentioned in our letter to you on July 19, 2011, we remain deeply concerned about Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, given a sentence of 19 and a half years on Internet-related charges.

CJFE strongly urges the Iranian government to repeal the death sentence of Saeed Malekpour, and to cease the intimidation tactics being used to silence online voices.

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

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President