News Agencies – December 2, 2012
Reports that Iran has suspended the death sentence of Canadian Saeed Malekpour have not been officially confirmed, and his family remain concerned for his fate, an activist close to the family says. The lawyer for Mr. Malekpour, on death row since 2010, has told Iran’s Mehr new agency that the sentence has been commuted after he “repented,” Agence France-Presse reported.
But in Canada, those campaigning for his release remain skeptical, noting that Iranian officials have in the past reinstituted death sentences they had supposedly commuted. Mr. Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in December of 2008 in Iran when he returned to his native land to visit his dying father and accused of operating up an offensive website.
Mr. Malekpour developed a program for posting pictures on the Internet and that it was used without his knowledge for the creation of porn sites, human rights group and his family said. In late January, Iran’s supreme court confirmed the death sentence against Mr. Malekpour, Iranian media reported. The verdict provoked an international outcry.In February, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Iran to halt the execution while Canada and rights watchdog Amnesty International also called for Mr. Malekpour’s immediate release.