We urge you: please use every mechanism at your disposal to highlight Saeed Malekpour’s case and condition, especially since he has been unjustly sentenced to death. Canadian government officials can do more to help foreign nationals detained abroad. Please ask our government for their help in bringing Saeed Malekpour back to his rightful life in Canada. Below, there is a template letter that you can send it to your local MP or to suggestions at this mailing list.
I write to you out of deep concern for Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada who was detained by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in October 2008 for “internet offenses.” He was sentenced to death in December 2010 without having had regular access to a lawyer, resources to defend himself, or legitimate due process. Canada’s Spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs has noted that the case “appears to be another case in which someone in Iran is facing a death sentence after a highly questionable process.”
The IRI is averaging one execution every eight hours, and in light of the recent execution of Dutch-Iranian protestor, Zahra Bahrami, it is imperative that Canada takes to the world stage and urges the safety and release of its own residents detained in Iran. I urge you and your colleagues to state your concern publicly as a means to pressure the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) to treat Mr. Malekpour, and all other prisoners, in accordance with the norms set forth by international human rights standards.
The 35-year-old and his wife moved to Canada in 2004, where he began work as a freelance website developer & programmer. During this time, Mr. Malekpour designed a program that would allow his clients to upload pictures, and, as is a common courtesy in coding, included his name and information in the file. The program was later used as part of an adult content website WITHOUT Mr. Malekpour’s consent or knowledge. Because his was the only recognizable name associated with the program, Mr. Malekpour was arrested in October 2008 after returning to Iran to see his terminally ill father, for the false allegation of “developing an adult website.”
Mr. Malekpour’s initial baseless and politically motivated charges include “agitation against the regime”; “contact with foreign entities”; and “insulting the sanctity of Islam”. In March 2010, he wrote an open letter that detailed how his confessions were extracted under immense pressure, torture, threats, and false promises of release, leniency, and bail. In response to the open letter, the IRI returned Mr. Malekpour to solitary confinement and, as retribution, tacked on the additional baseless charge: “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”
As the case is full of technical terms and nuances, there is little knowledge or understanding of the “evidence.” Mr. Malekpour has continually been denied access to the resources he needs to disprove the accusations, while his requests for the IRI’s judiciary-trusted IT experts to investigate the case file have gone unheard.
On January 22, 2011, Mr. Malekpour was taken to Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, where he faced a second round of politically motivated charges, including “collusion with his wife to act against national security”; “propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran;” and “agitating the public mind”. Because neither his family nor his lawyer was informed of the recent trial, Mr. Malekpour had no legal representation. He ultimately refused to defend himself during the trial, instead insisting that his lawyer be present. He has been unable to work with his lawyer due to his prolonged solitary confinement in Ward 2-A of Evin prison.
The IRI continues to violate the rights standards set forth by Articles 10, 11, and 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners” as detailed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
To this end, I urge you: please use every mechanism at your disposal to save Saeed Malekpour. Please, work with the international community to urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to institute an immediate moratorium on all execution sentences and to conduct independent reviews of all pending death penalty cases, including Mr. Malekpour’s. I plead that you urge the IRI to afford Mr. Malekpour his due rights, a fair trial, access to independent legal representation, medical care, freedom from physical and psychological torture, and most importantly, a halt to his execution.
As one of the most compassionate world bodies today, Canada can set a significant precedence and lead the international community to respond to the human-rights crisis engulfing the people of Iran – especially in stepping forward and showing support for one of its own. By expressing concern loudly, the IRI will realize that continued abuses will lead to an insufferable level of disruption in their international relations.
Canada can, and should, rise to the challenge now faced by the international community and lead the charge in drawing attention to Saeed’s case, the abuses he has endured, the false confessions, the torture, the threats, and his execution. Canada remains a country that has been courageous in holding the IRI accountable for its human rights abuses I hope that the Canadian leadership can take concrete action on behalf of Saeed Malekpour, an innocent man who relocated his life and family to the great country of Canada.
Please work towards Mr. Malekpour’s safe release and bring your country’s permanent resident back home to Canada, his wife, and his family.
Thank you for listening to my concerns. I look forward to your response.