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Entries in Saeed Malekpour (4)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Criticising the Supreme Leader and Much More (Arseh Sevom)

Mohammad Maleki and Nasrin SotoudehAll over the world, people who care about the fate of detained lawyerNasrin Sotoudeh breathed a collective sigh of relief as word came in that her demands had been met and that she had ended her 49-day hunger strike.

Dr. Mohammad Maleki wrote a powerful letter criticizing Iran’s Supreme Leader. The chief of the cybercrimes unit was sacked in the fallout of the investigation of the death of blogger Sattar Beheshti, and the Cyrus Cylinder travels to the US. HIV seems to be on the rise in Iran while nurses flee the country seeking better working conditions elsewhere. The UN has condemned Iran’s human rights abuses, demonstrators in Paris call attention to Iranian women who have been denied their rights, and German banks move to make transactions for humanitarian items such as medicine possible.

Forced hijab comes with instruction now, there are reports that the death sentence against web programmer Saeed Malekpour has been lifted, and Asghar Farhadi is named as one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers.

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The Latest from Iran (2 December): Ahmadinejad Puts His Right-Hand Man in a New Post

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai & President Ahmadinejad1955 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Syrian Front). Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said, “The second round of the meeting of Syrian groups, and national and popular figures, will be held with the participation of representatives from the Syrian government."

Appearing with Hesam Manaa, the vice chairman of the Damascus-based National Coordination Committee, Amir-Abdollahian said the meeting would again bring together members of the regime and the opposition, including the NCC.

In November, Iran promoted a two-day meeting in Tehran with representatives of both sides, to little apparent effect.

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Iran Feature: Saeed Malekpour, A Web Designer Condemned to Die

Saeed Malekpour and His Wife, Fatemeh EftekhariIn his photographs, Saeed Malekpour looks like an average guy, not dangerous or menacing at all. It's a far different image from that put out by the Iranian regime, in which Malekpour is a nefarious character hell-bent on corrupting the morals of ordinary citizens, insulting the State-sanctioned religion, and agitating against the Government and the Supreme Leader.

And it for that latter image that Malekpour may die.

An Iranian by birth, Saeed and his wife moved to Canada in 2004 so he could pursue his education. In 2005, he was granted permanent residency by the Ottawa Government. In 2008,  when he returned to Iran to see his dying father, he was thrown into Evin Prison.

The authorities said software that Malekpour developed was being used by the general public to upload pornography to the internet. Malekpour's supporters say he had no knowledge of that use, let alone intent to spread obscene material, but in 2009, he appeared on State TV to "confess" to all the allegations.  He was put on death row in 2010.

The verdict was annulled by the Supreme Court in 2011 and sent back to the lower court, only for the judges to re-assert the validity of the charges and sentence. Last month, the Supreme Court rejected Malekpour's last appeal.

Maryam Nayeb-Yazdi, the coordinator of the campaign for Malekpour's release, wrote yesterday: 

One of the lawyers said: “If we [Saeed's lawyers] had a chance to review the case file, then we would have been able to prevent the execution of the sentence. By conducting a review we could have pointed out that an expert has never been brought into the case for investigation. The case file was sent straight to the Circuit Court for Execution of Sentences without review.” He continued: “Since Saeed Malekpour’s sentence is in the possession of the Circuit Court for Execution of Sentences, this means that they are capable of executing Saeed at any moment they wish.”

Reporters Without Borders also criticised the death sentence and its confirmation by the Supreme Court.  

The Canadian House of Commons unanimously passed a motion against the sentence yesterday:

That this House express its deep concern for the safety of Iranian citizen Saeed Malekpour following reports of his imminent execution; that Canada hold Iran accountable for Mr. Malekpour’s treatment; and that this House call on Iran to reverse its current course, meet its international human rights obligations and release prisoners such as Saeed Malekpour and others who have failed to receive fair and transparent legal treatment.

Saeed's sister, Maryam Malekpour has written an urgent appeal to the United Nations to secure the release of her brother: 

We cannot believe Saeed was arrested in the first place let alone sentenced to death. We cannot believe that we have been forced to live a horrific nightmare every day for more than three years. Saeed can be illegally executed at any moment unless the international community defends his life. Saeed’s lawyers have told our family that the only hope left is the international community. All legal channels within Iran have been exhausted.

We are desperate for your help!

Saeed Malekpour's death sentence is now with the "enforcement section". That is the last stage before the web designer will be killed.


The Latest from Iran (30 January): Posturing Over Oil

A map of Tehran's oil exports

See also The Latest from Iran (29 January): Future Election, Past Election, House Arrest

2039 GMT: A Shift in the Awakening. The Supreme Leader has sent a message to an international youth conference in Tehran, centred on the theme of the "Islamic Awakening".

Much of the message, put out by Ayatollah Khamenei's Twitter account, is standard rhetoric: "The Zionists, Great Satan (USA), & Western powers are incapable in facing the Islamic awakening, & they'll fail more & more."

This, however, catches the eye: "Due to geographical, historical and social differences, there is no single model that can be applied to Islamic countries."

Hmm... Last year, just after the Egyptian uprising had removed President Mubarak, the Supreme Leader put out a message that Iran's Islamic Revolution was precisely that model.

So why has the line changed?

2027 GMT: Currency Watch. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, the head of Parliament's Economy Committee, has blamed currency fluctuations on "poor Government and poor management by the Central Bank".

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