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Archive for January, 2011

Saeed Malekpour was sentenced to death in December 2010 following what appears to have been an unfair trial, without access to his lawyer, and amid allegations that he was tortured and forced to confess to crimes which he did not commit. He is detained in Evin Prison, has spent more than 12 months in solitary confinement and denied books, newspapers, and contact with the outside world.  His sentence is currently under appeal.

Amnesty International has documented the frequent and extensive use of torture in Iranian prisons.  We have also documented the widespread use of the death penalty in Iran and have highlighted concerns that prisoners are executed after legal proceedings that do not come close to meeting international fair trial standards.  Executions can and do happen secretively and with very little advance warning. Under the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, if a state does still retain the use of the death penalty, it is to be reserved for only ‘the most serious crimes’, which is generally accepted at a minimum to mean crimes involving serious violence.  This is not the case with the charges that have been brought against Mr. Malekpour.

While Mr. Malekpour is not a Canadian citizen, he is closely attached to Canada.  He wife is also a permanent resident in Canada and this country has become their home.  There is no other government to which he can turn to for assistance at this time.
 

Take Action

Call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

  • Welcome the efforts taken by the Canadian government to date to raise concerns about Iran’s human rights record
  • Acknowledge the specific statements made by Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai in November and December.
  • Stress the need to continue to raise both general concerns and intervene in this specific case with the highest levels of the government of Iran.
  • Encourage him to employ other governments to assist in raising concerns about Mr. Saeed Makekpour’s case with Iranian authorities.

 

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Prime Minister of Canada

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa ON

K1A 0A2

email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Call on the Iranian authorites and request that they:

  • Commute Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence immediately
  • Review Saeed Malekpour’s conviction urgently as it appears his trial did not fully confirm to international fair trial standards;
  • Immediately conduct an impartial investigation into Mr. Malekpour’s allegations of torture while he has been detained. Anyone found responsible for abuse should be brought to justice promptly and fairly.
  • Ensure that any “confession” he may have made as a result of torture is not admitted as evidence against him, as this would violate Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party.

Write to:

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, south of
Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran, 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:  bia.judi@yahoo.com (In the subject line, write FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)
Salutation:  Your Excellency
 

More Background

The Canadian government has sponsored a resolution censuring Iran at the United Nations General Assembly human rights committee, every year since the 2003 torture and death while in custody, of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi in Iran.  The resolution has expressed deep concern at serious ongoing human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The violations include torture, flogging, amputations, stoning, and “pervasive gender inequality and violence against women.”  Canada has also “particular concern” with the Iranian government’s failure to launch a thorough investigation of alleged human rights violations in the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contested re-election in 2009.

The Government of Canada has also raised concerns regarding Saeed Malekpour on a number of occasions.  On 17 November 2010,  in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Deepak Obhrai expressed his indignation at the news of the unlawful detention of Saeed Malekpour, stating that Mr. Malekpour’s case is but one of the many cases in which someone in Iran is facing a death sentence after a highly questionable process  and that Mr. Malekpour “has not had access to a lawyer.”

In a new year’s statement on January 1, 2011 the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed deep concern for the “deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.” He expressed particular concern for the uncertain fate of two Canadians of dual nationality who remain in prison in Iran. (Hamid Ghassemi- Shall and Hossein Derakhshan).  He further referred to reports that Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian permanent resident, has been condemned to death and that his sentence could be carried out at any time.   Minister Cannon encouraged the Iranian authorities to show mercy and compassion to those who are in Iran’s prisons without just cause, and called on Iran to respect its international human rights obligations in law and in practice and to foster a more open dialogue with the international community.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2011

CANADIAN PERMANENT RESIDENT AT IMMINENT RISK OF EXECUTION IN IRAN


Saeed Malekpour

“CANADA, RAISE YOUR VOICE LOUDER FOR SAEED MALEKPOUR!”

 

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.

 

For more information on Saeed Malekpour:

https://peoplewithoutnation.wordpress.com/

Contact:

Dr. Fatemeh Eftekhari (Saeed Malekpour’s wife)

(To Contact Saeed Malekpour’s Campaign, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page)

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First Case File:

1. Acting against national security through propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime by means of publishing various works realized through collaboration with anti-Islamic Republic regime groups that were achieved through launching numerous websites with derogatory content and through ties with foreign agents.

2. Insulting and desecrating the principles of  Islam, the prophets, and [Shiite] Imams, the city of Mecca, etc. through publication of photos, stories, and religious materials.

3. Insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic (Ayatollah Khomeini), the Supreme Leader, and the President through publication of photos, stories, and religious materials.

4. Illegitimate and illicit earnings through direction and management of various websites.

5. Production, supply, and publication of obscene materials such as photos, films, stories through computer systems, and e-mails.  Organized launch and direction of obscene [pornographic] websites with the intent to destabilize and collapse the cultural and social security of families, and encourage moral decadence and corruption among society.

Second Case File:

1. Collusion with his wife to act against national security
3. Propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran
2. Agitating the public mind

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Since November 30, 2010 Saeed has been detained in Solitary confinement.  On January 22nd, he was taken to branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Moghiseh (the same Judge giving him the death penalty), for the trial pertaining to his second case file with the charges “Collusion with his wife to act against national security” and “Agitating the public mind”.

Neither Saeed’s family or lawyer were informed of the trial, thus he had no representation in the court. As a result, Saeed refused to defend himself during the trial and insisted that his lawyer must be present.

Judge Moghiseh has given Saeed one week to inform his lawyer to arrive in branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. However, Saeed  is unable to directly inform his lawyer since he is still held in a solitary confinement cell in ward 2-A of Evin prison (the ward is controlled by the IRGC).

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Interview conducted by Masih Alinejad
Translation by Siavosh Jalili, Persian2English

Execution news of Iranian citizens on a variety of charges has become top news in Iran, and at times in the global media. As the hour of execution approaches, protests by the media, the people, and human rights communities become louder and more serious.

There are many defendants who have been sentenced to death on a variety of charges; some are on death row and await execution, while others await their sentences to be overturned.

Saeed Malekpour, according to his wife Fatemeh Eftekhari, received a death sentence after spending two years in temporary detention and a state of legal limbo.

Earlier, in an open letter to Sadegh Larijani, the Judiciary Chief [of the Islamic Republic of Iran], Fatemeh Eftekhari wrote: “Through a conversation that the lawyer had with Judge Moghiseh, he discovered that the sentence in mind for Saeed Malekpour is death.”

Saeed Malekpour who studied Metallurgy Engineering at Sharif Technical University is a Permanent Resident of Canada. In a letter [from prison] he described the tortures he endured and the methods [used by interrogators] to extract [hours of] confessions from him. He stated that he was forced under torture to make the self-incriminating confessions.

Jaras - Mrs. Eftekhari, how do you feel these days when you hear about the recent death sentences being carried out?

Fatemeh Eftekhari (FE) - My entire body and soul feels the pain when a compatriot is executed. It does not make a difference whether (s)he is known or unknown. It is really appalling. I have read the letter Mr. Saremi’s daughter [wrote to her father who was executed on December 28, 2010], and I cry every single time [when I read that Mr. Saremi] chanted “O Hussein” before being executed…]. The martyrs that were killed in the Iran-Iraq war ran into the mine fields also shouting “O Hussein!” Our parents did not fight and resist to end up with an Islamic regime of this nature. How can officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran read these letters [by the families of political prisoners] and not die of shame?

Jaras- How were you and your husband informed of the death sentence issued to him?

FE- The sentence was issued to Saeed on November 30th; 40 days after the last court session. However, the lawyer was informed on December 4th and he still has not received the official announcement of the sentence. They have not given him the official [sentence] papers; they only allowed him to write it down [as notes]. This is a ridiculous and shameful process. As an Iranian, I felt embarrassed when I had to explain all this to a Canadian lawyer. Interestingly, at first, the Canadian lawyer thought such processes and treatments are based on the Islamic penal laws, and he was glad that Canada is not an Islamic country! Is this how authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to export Islam and the Revolution to the world?

Jaras- Why did you leave Iran? I heard it was upon your husband’s request, is that correct?

FE- Yes, it was upon Saeed’s insistence that I returned to Canada. They made Saeed give and sign many false confessions by threatening to arrest me. We were hoping that by me returning to Canada, his situation would improve.

Jaras- Can you briefly describe your husband’s conditions in prison? Given that you were residing in Canada, did you ever consider the possibility that your husband would be arrested during his trip back to Iran?

FE- Saeed has spent over 27 months in Evin prison. He went to Iran in August 2008 to visit his family and ailing father. Three days after his arrival, he was arrested. It never crossed our mind that he could be arrested because we had not done anything [illegal], nor did we have any activities to be concerned about. I still cannot understand the way officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran have behaved toward Saeed’s case. How could they present a computer programmer as the director of an obscene [ pornographic] website? How could they play with the lives of individuals, the elites of the country, under the pretext of expediency of the regime?

Jaras- How was Mr. Malekpour arrested and how were the confessions extracted?

FE- Saeed was abducted by plainclothes agents who, we found out later, were agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). [On the same date of the arrest], the home of Saeed’s parents was raided in the middle of the night while his father was gravely ill.  Saeed’s family has been lied to repeatedly. They were given false promises. They kept my husband in solitary confinement for [over] one year and forced him to make false confessions under torture, threats, and other means. All this became public after the [contested 2009 Presidential] election. I only saw Saeed once in November 2008 in Evin prison [since his arrest]. His physical and emotional state was very grave and it became clear to me that Saeed had been under immense duress and torture. Think about it: the interrogators, in order to extract confessions from a person who has been detained for “moral offences” in cyber space, stripped him naked and threatened him with…[rape]. It is horrific. I cannot [even] say it. What religious and legal justification do they have for resorting to such acts? [Even] at the dawn of Islam (in 7 A.D.), were war prisoners who were not Muslim treated this way?

Jaras- State media has maneuvered a lot on your husband’s case to show that he was arrested and sentenced to death for his activities related to pornographic websites. Can you describe briefly his activities?

FE- When we were in Iran, Saeed was a professional computer programmer for Material Engineering specialized softwares. Saeed’s softwares are currently sold in Iran by several engineering firms carrying his real name: Saeed Malekpour. When we came to Canada, Saeed was a freelance internet program developer for individuals and companies. Two examples of Saeed’s work in Canada includes websites of a chain drugstore and a travel agency. The fact that one of the softwares he wrote and sold has been used, without the knowledge of my husband, as part of an obscene [pornographic] website is not Saeed’s fault. If Saeed knew where the software was going to be used, he would not have written his real name as the programmer. The client had definitely not informed my husband of his inauspicious plan. Another major problem that exists is that the Computer Offences law was passed in the [Iranian] Parliament ten months after my husband’s arrest. Such a law did not exist at the time of Saeed’s arrest.

Jaras- What specific actions have you taken to save your husband’s life? Have your letters and requests been answered by the Iranian authorities inside Iran?

FE- They have not replied to any of the letters, nor have they provided any answers when the family attempted to pursue their grievances in person by going to the Security Prosecutions Office in Evin prison, the Justice department, and the Prosecutor’s office. The last answer they gave to Saeed’s family was, “You [already] know what Saeed’s sentence is.” It is as though they poured cold water over [our hopes]. Everywhere we go, the IRGC casts its long shadow. Everybody is terrified to answer our inquiries.

Jaras- What is the latest news you have of your husband’s condition in prison?

FE- Unfortunately, Saeed is still held in solitary confinement in ward 2-A of Evin prison [ward 2-A is controlled by the IRGC]. He is banned from visits. In a phone conversation he had with his mother, apparently, his spirit, contrary to previous times, was low. He was asking that the lawyer take action so that he could be transferred to the General ward. I really do not know based on what laws and legal sections [they transferred] my husband back to solitary confinement after he already endured [over] one year in solitary confinement and the judicial process and court sessions had come to an end. Weren’t [the regime authorities] held in prisons belonging to SAVAK during Shah’s reign? Weren’t they tortured? Why do they, now that they are in power, commit the same crimes toward the Revolution’s generation and those who were educated during Imam [Khomeini's] leadership? Where in the Islamic law is such treatments allowed, even toward a criminal?

Jaras- What is your request from the people, given that your husband’s charges have been presented as an apolitical offence?

FE- I want them to pray not only for us but for the families of all innocent prisoners. Everything is in God’s hands. I will use all my strength to [ensure] Saeed’s innocent voice is heard by the people. Our people are enlightened and can make the right judgments.

Jaras- How much time do you think you have to save your husband’s life?

FE- I do not know how much time we have. Hearing the news that [some prisoners of conscience] were suddenly executed when the lawyer was still awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court scares me even more. For now, the case is before the Supreme Court and Mr. Alizadeh Tabatabai is an experienced lawyer. Hopefully, and by trusting in God, his convictions and sentence will be overturned in the Supreme Court and Saeed will return home.

Jaras- Would you like to talk about your own emotional state?

FE- It is an extremely difficult situation, both for me who lives in Canada far from my family and for those who are following up with Saeed’s case and are forced to bear all the insults and scorns and keep silent for the sake of Saeed. I thank God that I was able to finish my PhD despite this crisis and I am working now. Loneliness is painful in a foreign country, but one must endure, keep his/her hopes high and continue to work.

Jaras- At what stage are international efforts? Have they had any impact on how your husband is treated by the regime?

FE- I really hope all these efforts pay off. Human rights activists and the United4Iran group have worked very hard for Saeed’s campaign. Unfortunately, [the authorities] have issued the harsh sentence [anyway]. And now they have opened a [second] case file against him on the charges of “Agitating the public mind”, and “Collusion with his wife to act against national security” for the letter [of torture] he wrote from prison that was published on news sites. I really do not know how else I can speak to officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran when even talking about my husband’s case or following up on it is considered a crime.

Jaras- Is there anything you would like to add?

FE- I wish for the release of all innocent prisoners. We all have to try [to secure their release], united, and shoulder to shoulder.

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Please deliver this letter to Saeed Malekpour.

Address: Solitary Confinement Division, Evin Prison, Tehran.

Hello dear Saeed,

I am writing this letter to you in hope that somehow you will be able to read it.

“Saeed Malekpour”

“Present!”

“Ali Hassan Zadeh”

“Present!”

In 1989, Imam Sadegh High School, Grade 9, Tehran

You were the tallest boy in the class and used to sit at the back of the class, timid and polite. You came from a gifted-student Guidance School to the high school as a distinguished student. You always had a pleasant smile on your face. Remember, we had to eat our lunch at recess time in the school and everyone wanted to be around you, as we knew how generous you were. We used to play basketball in the school. Maybe you don’t remember that you taught me how to play basketball and I taught you mountain climbing.  Regret that you have been in jail among those memorable mountain skirts for the last two years.

Good days, cold mornings, in student line shouting slogans against the USA till our voices were hoarse and how certain we were at what we were doing.

How sinful we felt when going to Ziarat Ashura prayer and could not cry. Because we were told only sinners do not cry at the presence of their God and we dug through our past in vain to find those sins we had apparently committed.

Today, the day that I am writing this letter for you is Tasua, a day before the commemoration of Ashura, and I know how much you admired the way the Abadanis mourn and grieve.

Now I am in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and you in Evin Prison, innocent far from our lives and dears.

In 1992, we were participating in the national Physical and Mathematical Olympiad in Alborz high school, the school that had rejected accepting me without proper reasoning, despite the fact that I had passed their entrance exam. We had to prepare six months for the Olympiad to finally be able to do the six-question, six-hour long exam.

Despite me being the best student in the school, I was dismissed from the school simply because I use to play sports, and that supposedly meant I was not Muslim enough. That happened to others too, to the point that four 45-student classes of grade nine shrunk to three classes with twenty students in grade 12. But you stayed there because you were considered as a complete Muslim, even in the eyes of one of the strictest principles, Mr. Muslim Nazari. Incidentally, he is still the principle of Emam Sadegh high school, in Azadi Square. Indeed, strictly religious students still go to this school, shorthaired students with long sleeved, loose fitting shirts, buttoned to the top and worn untucked with dark socks. That school still denies those students who are not Muslim enough, who play sports, read poems and like white socks.

Nazari still thinks that his people were the only kind under missile attack during the Iran-Iraq war, but we were safe as we were on the enemy’s side. He still discriminates between his war martyrs and those martyrs who were from my neighborhood in Fallah district because they played sports.

Saeed, what are you laughing at? You are asking whether this is truly a letter or in fact a threnody to our lives. You are right.

You, unfaithful, left me all alone after you were accepted to Sharif University. Who was I going to share my stories and sorrows with then? Six months later you found me while I was preparing for the university entrance exam and you were the one who motivated and inspired me. I got accepted to the same major as you, Metallurgic Engineering, and I knew you would be my best guide on this journey.

Good days! What beautiful mountains we climbed together, Samamus, Shah Albor, Geno, Talijan, Lapaser, Touchal, Shervin, Sang Siah, Dar Abad. How many times we went to Usan and Shirpala and how many times to Darake and Palangchal.

The revolutionary guardians used to search everybody’s backpack at the base of the mountain to find prohibited items such as alcohol and we were always exempted due to our innocent looks. Young guys were there with their spouses or girlfriends but our girlfriends were teapots and a mat to rest on.

I never understood why you did not ever talk about girls and their affairs until you met Zohreh, but you always listened to my stories about how much I loved a girl in my neighborhood.

Remember the days we got passionately into playing cards and I had to beat you even by cheating. Remember Shelem? “You cut.”, you said. “You really do not have a card.”, you said. “No.”, I roared. Not long after the game was finished, you discovered that I actually had cheated and chased me to beat me up and we ended up laughing our heads off.

Talking about chess, you read every existing book on the subject and playing chess with you had become a nightmare for everybody. You were looking for a rival who could compete with you and you finally did, “Zohreh”. You had found your soul mate, and next following the stereotype of university classmates getting engaged and then married. I was still single until God sent me a gift, Hedieh, whose name also happens to mean ‘gift’ in Persian.

It was time to find a job, I started working in a mine in Soongon, Ahar and you worked in Garma Felez and an Aluminum manufacturer in Dorood, Khoramabad before you moved to Iran Khodro, Tehran. It was such hard work and you worked long hours to overcome the expenses of a newly established life until you got sick and were admitted to hospital. You even helped me and Ali Koochakzadeh, who later became your brother-in-law, to find a job in your company.

I should confess that I was so attracted to your attitude and nobility that I wanted to marry one of your relatives. I asked your permission to marry your sister and you said we were not suitable for each other.

The day that I shared the news with you that I got accepted in MSc at Sharif University, you told me that Zohreh got an offer from a university in Canada and you were getting ready to leave the country. Even though you very busy packing up your life, you worked until the last day to serve your country. I used to laugh at you for not taking the opportunity to take a rest before your departure.

I knew how much you loved Iran and how hard it was for you to leave your family behind. This indeed happened to me too. If Zohreh had a better horizon for her career in Iran, I am sure you would have never left the country. I could not properly take care of your family as I should have and had promised you.

Your first trip back to Iran, you came to our house for dinner and we looked at all the old pictures. We spent the entire night driving around the city and reminiscing. You talked about Canada, its cold weather, its burdens and orderliness. You did not recommend it to us, but emphasized the need to learn English. I asked you if you needed financial help and you said the scholarship money Zohreh earns was enough for your simple life. You were hoping to get a scholarship to pursue your studies but not in metallurgic engineering anymore, rather in computer science, your passion in life.

You told me that there was a beautiful trail close to your house where you ran everyday. Your health was better and, thank God, you didn’t even catch cold once.

A year passed and on the day I took Hanna, my daughter you have not met yet, for vaccination, I heard that you came to Iran to bid farewell to your dad who was on his deathbed. Shockingly, you were arrested. We did not know the reason, but were not worried either, as we knew you were innocent and they were going to release you soon. It was before the controversial 2009 presidential election and we were not that pessimistic, so we waited for you to come home.

One month, two months, three months, one year and two years !!!!!!! Confined without court order!!

We got very scared and I kept hoping that they had kept you to make use of your knowledge in computer science.

I read the letter you wrote from prison. I heard your voice. I even saw your confession on national TV. I listened carefully to your confession. When you lie, the corners of your lips move down, like you are trying to swallow your laughs. I know you very well. I know that the symbol of great grief appears as a smile on your face. You laugh all the time unless your heart is broken, then you frown and make wrinkles on your forehead.

I heard that you stand accused of action against national security and the Islamic Republic, and collaboration with the opposition.

I remember the day that we were sitting together in Abzoghalchal and I was stoning birds. You blasted me “Shame on you. What do you have to with birds? You have no right to harm them.” you said.

How can you now take action against national security?

No, I do not believe this.

You couldn’t even get your own money back from your landlord when you were leaving the country. Now you stand accused of subversion against the state and insulting Islam!

No, I do not believe this.

I have heard that they have accused you of developing pornography websites. Is nobody there to tell them that your most immoral friend was me whose biggest sin was falling in love with a girl in his neighborhood? The friend who could not even express his feeling to her because it was not in accordance with Islam? The first women of our lives were indeed our wives. I would believe them if they accused you of developing sports websites, tour guide websites, brain games, and so on.

Since seeing the news of your court, I can neither sleep nor eat. I can neither work on my PhD thesis nor exercise. At nights I pray for you and spend the day surfing the internet with the hope of reading good news about your case.

In April 2010, I came to Iran to sort out my emotional burdens. I wanted to come and visit you in the prison but it was not feasible. I came and stood by the wall of the prison. One day I went to Darake. From the first step I took, I reminisced about our walks up HaftHoz, Omran and Abzoghalchal. It was both nostalgic and melancholic without you. I could see the future of other people there, which deepened my grief even more. They were all happy. But you could no longer hear the loud voice of forbidden music anymore. Zohreh was not there to whisper Quran. You were not there either to whistle the song ‘From The Northland’ with me. I was alone with a lot of memories and a broken heart. You were very close to me at the base of the mountain in the loneliness of your cell, in Evin behind bars. I, who was leaving the country to return to Malaysia, felt imprisoned, and those people still living in Iran felt imprisoned too.

You are confined and cannot do much and people who are free cannot either. Their prison is their heart and your prison is very small for your great heart.

 

I will come to Iran again in April 2011, to stay, and tell those who think you developed obscene websites who you are and how you think. I will tell them whatever I know about you. You are the proud child of Iran and you should be proud of yourself and tell them all about your accomplishments.  This time I will be your mouth and I will show them all my pictures taken with you.

I will tell them that you and I translated the Thermodynamic book by David Gaskell to Persian and solved all the problems. This took us six months of our lives after graduation. I have still the hand scripts. It was immature not to publish it.

I will tell them that you are not political and have no clue about politics.

I will tell them that in 1997, when nobody knew anything about metallurgical simulation, you and Dr. Davami modeled the casting phenomenon, a part of which won the Kharazmi prize. Today, one of the outcomes of your research work is called SUTCAST.

I will tell them that when everybody studied metallurgical phenomena with microscopes, you developed modeling software that was able to evaluate microscopical pictures of metallurgical samples. This was the start of me teaching application of computers in metallurgical engineering, after 11 years in Ollom and Tahghighat.

I will tell them that 15 years ago you were trying to develop an antivirus for computers when Windows was not on the market.

I will tell them that you are my best friend and I am proud of you.

I do not know what the people who did this to you truly worship, but if they asked me who I worship, I would tell them I believe in God and prophet Mohammad and Imams, and if I wanted to give an example of a saintly person I would exclaim:

Saeed Malekpour!

 

Ali Hassan Zadeh Lileh Koohi

PhD candidate – UPM

Dec 15th, 2010

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Please join us for this ACAT (Christians for the Abolition of Torture) event to support prisoners whose voices have been taken away from them. You can make a difference! Please don’t remain silent! Let your friends know!

 

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Lawrence CannonMONTREAL (AFP) – Canada’s top diplomat Saturday denounced Iran for imposing draconian death sentences and unfair jail terms, urging Tehran’s incoming foreign minister to improve the country’s human rights record.

“I am particularly concerned by the uncertain fate of two Canadians of dual nationality who remain in prison in Iran,” Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said.

Ottawa was worried about reports that Saeed Malekpour, 35, an Iranian-born Canadian resident, had been sentenced to death, he said. Malekpour, a computer programmer, was taken into custody for allegedly designing an adult website.

Iranian-born Canadian Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, who went to Iran in 2008 to visit his ailing mother, had also been jailed and sentenced to death for alleged crimes against the Iranian state.

Cannon added Canada was also concerned about the fate of US citizens Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, along with Sikeneh Ashtiani and seven Bahai community leaders, including Nasrin Sotoudeh, “who face harsh treatment and disproportionate sentences.”

Ashtiani is an Iranian woman sentenced to death after a conviction of adultery and murder. Her case has drawn widespread international condemnation.

Ottawa also condemned reports of a death sentence slapped against Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor who renounced his Muslim faith.

The reported death sentence against Nadarkhani is “a grave concern to Canada, as this is a sign that the Iranian people do not enjoy freedom of religion,” Cannon said.

Cannon also said he hoped Iran’s incoming foreign minister, Ali-Akbar Salehi, would signal a change in Iranian human rights policy.

“As we begin a new year, and indeed, a new decade, Canada hopes that Iran’s incoming foreign affairs minister will encourage the country’s authorities to show mercy and compassion to those who are in Iran’s prisons without just cause,” Cannon said.

 

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