IRAN WATCH CANADA

Thursday, February 03, 2011

CANADIAN PERMANENT RESIDENT AT IMMINENT RISK OF EXECUTION IN IRAN


A day after the illegal execution of Iranian-Dutch citizen Zahra Bahrami on January 29, 2011 in Evin prison, the Tehran Prosecutor released a statement on government-controlled news sites about more imminent executions. The announcement caused international Persian media outlets, namely BBC and Voice of America, to go on alert. The Tehran Prosecutor was quoted as saying that the death sentences issued to two admins of obscene websites were sent to the Supreme Court for “confirmation and approval”.
Saeed Malekpour, a 35 year old Canadian Permanent Resident imprisoned in Iran is one of the victims mentioned in the statement by the Tehran Prosecutor. Unfortunately, with the case of Zahra Bahrami, since the Dutch government did not take quick steps in her defense, authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran were free of international pressure and had an easy time executing her without fear of any consequences on an international level.
At the start of the New Year, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon issued a statement on human rights violations in Iran and mentioned the case of Saeed Malekpour: “I am particularly concerned by the uncertain fate of two Canadians of dual nationality who remain in prison in Iran.” He added that Ottawa was worried about reports that Saeed Malekpour had been sentenced to death. Despite Cannon’s statement, Iranian authorities still insist to highlight the news of Saeed Malekpour’s imminent execution in the media.
From December 20, 2010 to January 30, 2011 alone, the Islamic Republic of Iran has executed over 118 individuals while many more await to face the gallows. In recent years, Iran has had the highest rate of executions per capita in the world.
Saeed Malekpour has been detained in Iran’s notorious Evin prison for over two years. He has endured much physical and psychological torture by interrogators for the purpose of extracting false confessions from him regarding bogus internet-related charges. After spending 444 days in solitary confinement, Saeed Malekpour wrote a letter to Iran’s head of Judiciary, asserting that all his confessions were extracted under immense pressure, torture, threats, and false promises of release, leniency, and bail. In his letter, he described the unfathomable torture he faced: lashings, threats of sexual assault, and interrogation sessions that resulted in broken teeth, a displaced jaw, bodily infections, and bouts of paralysis. When Saeed Malekpour’s letter of torture was ignored by Iranian authorities, his wife who lives in Canada published the text online and it was distributed by international media outlets. This act enraged Iranian authorities and they retaliated by opening up a second case file against Saeed Malekpour, charging him with “Conspiring with his wife against national security”.
Sadly, Saeed Malekpour has not been provided a fair opportunity to defend himself from the charges laid against him. It is becoming increasingly obvious that this chance will never come, as strong evidence suggests that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has predetermined his fate.
The issue of “western cultural onslaught and invasion” has always been raised by authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. For 30 years, they have been saying that the West is conspiring against the Islamic Revolution and its ideals and is trying to lead the Iranian youth astray. They use this ideology as a pretext to justify any crackdown and oppressive measures against Iranian youth and intellectuals.
Saeed Malekpour was living in Canada with his wife. They lived together in a western country and he was working as a freelance computer programmer. All these factors, when considered, make it apparent why Saeed Malekpour was a suitable target to be used as a victim in the political games played by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Canadian government has made some efforts to address Iran’s continued and systematic human & civil rights abuses. Additionally, Canada is among the co-sponsors of the United Nations resolution on Iran’s human rights violations. Canadian officials, especially Prime Minister Stephen Harper, are strongly urged to raise their voices louder and stand firmer against the illegal crimes committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran against Canadian Permanent Resident Saeed Malekpour.

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