yorkregion Newspaper published an article about Saeed’s case
Fatima Eftekhari says she has been emotionally tormented for two years since learning her husband was arrested and could face the death penalty in Iran.
The 32-year-old Richmond Hill resident says her husband of 10 years, Saeed Malekpour, 35, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2008. He was arrested for alleged Internet crimes and national security violations and, following an Oct. 26 sentence, will be put to death, Ms Eftekhari said.
“It’s like a nightmare,” she told The Richmond Hill Liberal.
Ms Eftekhari and her husband are permanent residents of Canada, but do not have citizenship, she said. The couple arrived in Canada several years ago.
While working as a computer programer, Mr. Malekpour designed a program that would allow clients to upload photographs and data files and attached his name to the program before sending it out, she said.
“He always loved computers and was pretty good at that,” she said.
Unbeknownst to her husband, the program appears to have been used as part of an adult content website, she said. When Mr. Malekpour visited Iran in 2008 to visit his ill father, he was arrested, accused of running the website and convicted, she said.
“We were so shocked,” she said.
If he had known the program would be used for adult content, he would not have put his name on it or visited Iran, she said, adding she does not believe the allegations against her husband.
Several blogs and petitions have emerged in support of Mr. Malekpour and his story has been featured on CBC.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade issued a statement condemning Iran’s handling of Mr. Malekpour’s situation.
This appears to be another case in which someone in Iran is facing a death sentence after a highly questionable process, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alain Cacchione said. adding Canada continues to call on Iran to respect its domestic and international obligations and ensure fairness and due process for all its citizens and others.
“Canada remains deeply concerned by the continued flagrant disregard of the Iranian authorities for the rights of both Iranian and dual-national citizens,” Mr. Cacchione added. The details of the case could not be independently verified at press time.
Meanwhile, Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi presented a petition Thursday to the provincial legislature asking federal Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to intervene on Mr. Malekpour’s behalf and appeal to the government of Iran.
Even if the Iranian authorities have found the distribution of adult content illegal, he believes the case shouldn’t warrant a death sentence, Mr. Moridi said in an interview.
However, Canada might be between a rock and a hard place, diplomatically, if it tried to pursue the case with Iranian authorities, according to University of Toronto international law expert Ed Morgan.
Because Mr. Malekpour is not a citizen, Canada’s ambassador wouldn’t have standing to intervene on his behalf, Mr. Morgan said.
“But, we should be out there for human rights generally,” he said.
At the federal level, Richmond Hill MP Bryon Wilfert said his office sent two letters — one to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one to the Iranian authorities in Ottawa — after hearing of the case.
The letters ask the Foreign Affairs Ministry to contact Iranian authorities to appeal for a fair trial and a formal meeting.
He said his office has handled similar cases in the past.
“The difficulty is neither are Canadian citizens,” Mr. Wilfert said. “All we can do is send strongly worded letters.”
When contacted in Ottawa, Iranian authorities were unavailable at press time.
And for now, all Ms Eftekhari can do is wait.
“All the people who know Saeed know him as a decent person and a good man,” she said.