February 1, 2016— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should extend all efforts to obtain the release of Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident and web develop imprisoned in Iran since 2008 on false charges, three prominent human rights campaigners wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister on January 29, 2016.
The letter was signed by Paul Haggis, founder of Artists for Peace and Justice and an Oscar-winning Canadian film writer and director; Nazanin Boniadi, actor and board member of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The letter stated, “In light of the lack of any evidence of his wrongdoing, the egregious denial of due process during his trial, and Tehran’s recent demonstrated willingness to release dual nationals imprisoned in Iran in order to hasten its international re-integration, we urge you to make any and all efforts to obtain the freedom of Saeed Malekpour.”
Malekpour, now 39, was arrested in Tehran in 2008 during a visit to Iran to see his dying father. He was charged with “insulting the sacred” for allegedly creating a pornographic website, because he had developed software that was used, without his knowledge, to post photos.
He made a televised “confession” in 2009 after being severely beaten, held in solitary confinement, and threatened with harm to his family. International human rights groups have documented Iran’s practice of forcing political prisoners to make televised “confessions.” Malekpour was sentenced to death in 2010, later reduced to life in prison.
The letter noted that Malekpour had “suffered severe injuries due to beatings, and serious illnesses while in prison, including kidney problems and rheumatism, none of which have been properly treated,” and implored the Prime Minister to “take action to release this young man who has suffered grievously after committing no crime.”