Letter in protest to Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence
Written by political prisoners in ward 350
Translation by Siavosh Jalili, Persian2English
In the wake of the confirmation of Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence by the [Iranian] Supreme Court, statements made by some of the judicial and security authorities have further increased the concerns [about the fate of Saeed Malekpour]. Saeed Malekpour, a web designer who also rented web space, is facing a certain execution sentence after three years of legal limbo, detention in prisons [and wards] run by the security organizations, and enduring lengthy periods of solitary confinement. The charge against him is directing so-called “obscene” websites. However, in a letter he wrote in 2010, he denied this accusation, disclosed the tortures he endured during the interrogations, and stated how he was forced to make false [self-incriminating] confessions and repeat them in front of a camera. He confirmed that he was only designing websites and renting web spaces. This latter statement is his real admission under normal circumstances while he was in ward 350. After the publication of this letter and the interviews given by his wife outside of Iran in which she dubbed the case of her husband a political one, Saeed Malekpour was transferred back to ward 2-A [under the control of the IRGC] after spending nine months in ward 350. He has been imprisoned in ward 2-A since December 2010.
Based on the laws governing due process in the Islamic Republic, all the stages of interrogation, detention, investigation and trial for Saeed Malekpour have been illegal. During the interrogations- contravene to the existing laws- he was subjected to physical and psychological torture. He was stripped and threatened with rape; his teeth were pulled with pliers; he was subjected to electrical shock by stun guns, he was lashed with cable wires; he was kept in solitary confinement for nearly one year (following his arrest); he was tried in a closed court session (while according to the Constitution, security and political trials have to be public); and was transferred to ward 2-A [solitary confinement] after the sentence was announced. He has not been handed in to the Iran Prison Organization since December 1, 2010.
No verdict or sentence can be considered legal under such circumstances. As a result, we, the undersigned, call the attention of all the awakened consciences to the flagrant violation of Saeed Malekpour’s civil and human rights, and express our opposition and revulsion of the sentence against Saeed Malekpour. Moreover, we would like to explain the following points:
Execution is an inherently inhumane act, because, in our view, no human being has the right to take away another human being’s life. Execution has never solved the problems Iranian society face. It has been simply used by the ruling establishment to avoid the question and the problem. As a result, the problems resulting in the death sentences have remained and the crackdowns have not been effective or helpful but, on the contrary, they have been catastrophic.
Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence is a political sentence that the regime has issued to further control cyber space and terrorize internet users. Such harsh sentences for cyber cases are targeting regular citizens who are using the Internet in different ways. By resorting to this method, the ruling establishment, on one hand, terrorizes non-political Internet users, and on the other hand, it is showing muscle and boasting [its ability] to eliminate [dissent] by exposing the Iranian society’s political and social climate to the option of execution [as an apparatus of fear] . There is a precedent of such cases, and in the past years and on various occasions, individuals have been executed under such non-political pretexts as drug trafficking while the actual case was political.
Under the current circumstance where the Islamic Republic regime still uses the option of physical elimination and killing—which have been frequently used in the form of either execution or assassination—only public global protest and expression of revulsion can be effective. If not, siding with the regime in any form, or any lack of minimum social reaction would help the continuation of execution by the regime.
We believe that anyone anywhere in the world and in any social condition can protest against executions, and at least the illegal executions. Meanwhile scholars, writers, and those with access to the media have a greater responsibility as they can better get their voices heard.
In the past two years in ward 350 of Evin prison, we witnessed several executions. We testify that in none of these executions the existing laws of the Islamic Republic were observed. In all stages of the procedures [from arrest to execution] the law was violated, and the death sentences were political [rather than judicial].
A group of prisoners of conscience in ward 350 of Evin prison
February 6, 2011