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Death sentence for Iranian web programmer (thenextweb.com)
369 points by waitwhat on Jan 19, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments



It's always said that one of the huge advantages of programming compared to other disciplines is the extremely low barrier of entry and the extremely low cost of taking a risk. You can develop something and all it costs you is time, so scrapping it is far easier than in any physical design situation.

I don't think it's possible to discount how critical to this point of view our freedoms are. When you have a certain faith in the justice system (one generally corroborated by experience) and in the law, you have one less thing to worry about. We innovate because we not only don't fear wasting $N in materials in addition to our time, we also don't fear being dragged off to prison. Indeed, even if we did fear being dragged off to prison, I can't think of any situation where you could unintentionally get the death sentence for programming. Programming!

Yes, SOPA and PIPA are bad, and yes, we should oppose them. But sometimes it's good to take a step back and look at what “bad” really looks like. And take a minute to think “Wow. We are fighting such minor battles in comparison.” Just a minute. Then it's time to get back in the fight. Because the minor losses slowly, imperceptibly, take you to the major battles.


We innovate because we not only don't fear wasting $N in materials in addition to our time, we also don't fear being dragged off to prison.

That's generally true, but not in all cases.

Because I have Crohn's Disease, I've toyed with the idea of creating an app that would let a patient track their symptoms and diet, etc., to figure out what are the factors that cause a flare-up for them; and later upload the history to their doctor. But knowing (a) the regulations in the USA surrounding medical devices (does this count as one? who knows without a lawyer) and (b) the potential for liability for even the stupidest things, I've decided that the potential danger for me is nowhere near worth it.


Arguably that makes my statement true :) You didn't innovate precisely because you did fear those things.

That said, you're right that we're not 100% free in this sense, even as software developers. We are just more free in this sense than many other hobbies/interests/occupations.


Interesting fact here is that one of the applications with the highest turnover on the Android market is some medical reference app (Anesthesia Central).

It sells for 100 EUR.

There might be some relation between the price of the app and potential liabilities.


It probably contains licensed content, and medical textbooks and the like are particularly expensive. 100 EUR may well represent a _discount_ from the price of the materials it's based on.


I hate to be THAT guy... but if SOPA passed, it could be more than just devices we're entrusting our lives to. I could engineer something like bit-torrent (which has legit uses), and be accused of helping people pirate. That could end in jail.

Just reinforces the point, that we have to work hard to keep our freedom.


I think you must be thinking of a different law or bill, because SOPA doesn't say anything of the sort.


Is that your opinion as a judge or lawyer who has studied the law in depth, someone with a reasonable law background that's actually read it, someone that just read it, or someone that's read a summery of it from a unbiased source?

Or just your guess based on hearsay?

PS: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261:

SEC. 204. AMENDMENTS TO SENTENCING GUIDELINES.

(H) ensure reasonable consistency with other relevant directives and Guidelines and Federal statutes; Note: You can't actually define what this means even if you read all relevant legal precedents, because it's allows monkey patching of the law by these guys http://www.ussc.gov/ an independent agency in the judicial branch of government.


This provides a good overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzqMoOk9NWc


This is somewhat off topic, but a friend of mine is working on something that sounds similar to what you described. I don't know their regulatory hurdles though. It might be worth it to contact them:

http://crohnology.com/


Speak to a doctor. It's possible that there is a simple "shibboleth" you can use like "I am not your lawyer and this is not legal advise" for lawyers.


Pretty sure the doctor would refer him to a specialist. In this case, a lawyer.


I'm pretty sure saying "I am not a lawyer" does not protect you from the consequences of giving out bad legal advice (at least in the US).


There are lots of apps that let you track your weight, blood pressure, BF%, periods, blood glucose, diet, calories, exercises completed, etc and you don't hear about problems with those kinds of apps. You can also make a generalized version so it would be an equivalent of a digital notepad, that happens to be really suited to what a Crohn's Disease tracker would need.


I think it's also important to recognize what are the steps that are leading to a situation like that, too, and not wait until it's too late to change anything.


Yes we are fortunate to live in a country where "it could be worse". No we should not sit back and relish that fact, I'd rather focus on "it could be better".


This is absolutely terrible. The world would be a much better place without people/countries that think/act this way.

You know what the scary thing is, though? We're headed in a similar direction. NDAA '12 was signed into a law and it essentially gives the government the right to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely. For what crime? If someone is merely "suspected" of sympathizing with or providing any level of support to groups the U.S. designates as terrorist organization or an affiliate or associated force may be imprisoned without charge or trial "until the end of hostilities."

I'm appalled at how much protest and awareness was raised against SOPA, but nothing against the NDAA. But hey, we might have uncontrolled access to the internet while being indefinitely detained...


> I don't think it's possible to discount how critical to this point of view our freedoms are.

Thomas Hobbes had precisely this insight back in the mid-1600s.


He was living in Canada for several years and apparently made some free open source software that was subsequently used in a porn site (without his further involvement or knowledge), as is oft the case and the reason FOSS exists.

He then was arrested on a visit to Iran.

Disregarding the ridiculousness of this specific case, it sets a dangerous precedent: anyone who has written open source code that is used by sites, and possible porn sites, could be just as guilty as this guy according to Iranian law.

I think I'll skip Iran on my next vacation for now.


> it sets a dangerous precedent

Precedent is irrelevant because Iran is not under the rule of law. Iran can imprison or kill you if that's what they feel like. The exact reason (if they give one) is just a fig leaf, and your confession is likely to be the result of torture.

Legal logic does not apply.


"can imprison or kill you if that's what they feel like"

Reminds me also of a certain north american country. Oh, never mind.


Exactly. The US can just brand you a terrorist and assassinate you if it feels like it -- even if you're an American citizen -- no need to even extract a false confession under torture or have a sham trial (though there are plenty of those in the US as well). They could just kill you outright.

Iran does not have a monopoly on mockeries of justice.


> Iran does not have a monopoly on mockeries of justice.

You're quite right. From these cases, the only real differences would seem to be 1) basis: terrorism vs. insulting Islam and 2) extremity: different bars for capital punishment.


Yes, those are almost slightly related. Facepalm.

Yes, the erosions in US justice over the past decade and change are rightly cause for great concern, but they are orders of magnitude from the total absence of the rule of law in Iran.


There's certainly more to the story. He lived there as a citizen for many years and probably had enemies. Iran doesn't seem to be working their way through github.

Remember, prosecutions start with who they want to get, and then try to find some laws they broke. So often the stated charge is something incidental like tax evasion.


> I think I'll skip Iran on my next vacation for now.

They don't give a crap what an average tourist does in his homeland. Repressions are addressed toward their own citizens and foreign journalists/activists because they are a threat to the regime.


But then again, not visiting a country is the tourism equivalent of a boycott. Thus why there are travel restrictions between the US and Cuba. So perhaps it isn't a “they could arrest me” (though it's not like Iran has never arrested foreign citizens and accused them of espionage), but simply an “I don't want to show any form of support for a regime like that”.

Naturally, there are counterarguments, like how visitors provide a view into the outside world, for example.


I frequent travel discussion boards, so I am familiar with this point of view, it's a common topic (should I travel to [insert your favorite opressive country]). However, I'm on the side which doesn't share this way of thinking. Contrary to what popular media makes us think, countries are made of citizens, not politicians. Citizens who are by general usually nice people and happy that you came to share your interest in their culture, common life, and leave some bucks in their stores/restaurants, not only seeing them through foreign interest of their governments. Iranian people have an awesome opinion of their friendliness to travellers, btw.


"Contrary to what popular media makes us think..."

What part of this news (or the many others about stonings, etc.) do you think is media manipulation? If you don't believe US media, get your facts directly from Iranians, there are ample examples of books and films (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stoning_of_Soraya_M., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_Lolita_in_Tehran, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persepolis_%28comics%29 are popular examples) that can be used for this purpose.

I've never subscribed to the "citizens are actually good, it's the governments who are evil" argument, it just shifts the blame, e.g. "the Nazis did it" by reification: governments are made of people and they, more or less, are populistic, following the majority's wishes. There are many parts of the society in Iran that back the current regime, don't think that everybody's against it.

So, my reply to the grandparent comment would be: read more about the people and regime and if you are convinced, then, yes, do not visit Iran, boycott them by withholding your money.


I didn't say that this article is manipulation, just that most people see such countries only through the news. I'm just saying that many countries with cruel laws have interesting and colorful cultures worth exploring from a tourist's point of view. If someone is not comfortable with that, ok, I just don't thing people should be discouraged by that because in the end, it's not the politics that suffer but natives (current example: outage of tourism in Syria, and a few years ago, in Nepal).

Persepolis was great, check out other modern Iranian and Iranian/Kurdish productions, there's a bunch of awesome cinema there, to mention the most known ones: About Elly, Separation, Time of drunken horses, No One Knows About Persian Cats, Women without men, and lots of other. If you want to read something lightweight where culture and regime meet, check Lipstick Jihad.

> I've never subscribed to the "citizens are actually good, it's the governments who are evil" argument, it just shifts the blame, e.g. "the Nazis did it" by reification: governments are made of people and they, more or less, are populistic, following the majority's wishes. There are many parts of the society in Iran that back the current regime, don't think that everybody's against it.

(Godwin's Law alert)

No doubt, but such events as nazis comming to power or the islamic revolution are subjects too complex to discuss here in a comment (at least I don't have the intention at the moment).


Thanks for the extra references.

To clarify: I wasn't referring to how the Islamic Regime came to power (although, as you point out, that would be an interesting and complex topic in itself). I was commenting on the fact that in most cases (except perhaps in extreme cases such as North Korea where governments hold their citizens captive) governments cannot be isolated from what the majority thinks or feels. Many people are uncomfortable by this so advocate the "it's the government that did it" argument.

Using the Nazis as an example was perhaps lazy (although they did get quite a bit of support from the general population, one shouldn't forget, they were voted in, unlike the Islamic regime in Iran). How about other examples: Many Chinese people in the mainland, due to an array of complex nationalistic, historical, and financial reasons back many of the deplorable aspects of China's regime. Same in Saudi Arabia, people turn a blind eye as long as they get their hefty unemployment benefits. Even France's government acknowledged Algerian atrocities very recently, because you know what, the general public still has grandiose ideas about the empire and don't want to hear that sort of thing. Turkey is going through a similar process with its Armenian history.

Another, longer example: I was always told that the animosity between Turkey and Greece was a thing that the governments created, that there existed a "brotherhood of these two peoples on two sides of Aegean". Well, when I traveled to Greece on a couple of occasions, I found the hard way that this was not completely true, people did hold the historical grudges), it wasn't something that he governments made up (same on the Turkish side, too, of course. In fact it was just the reverse: the governments noted this trend and were responding to it in populist ways to get more votes.


By your logic, the US under GWB were full of evil people who just loved to bomb other countries.

I personally always try to remember that politics are not binary in nature, that history is complicated and especially that the volksgeist does not exist.


You think they looked at someone who coded a piece of free software for image uploads, that was used by porn sites, and thought "he's a threat to our regime"?


Any citizen of an opressive country who doesn't support the govt is looked at as a threat, that's how regimes treat their citizens.

The accusations are a tool, not a reason.


And the more randomly the tool is applied the more effective it is in terrorizing people. IRI is basically broadcasting to Iranian expat community that: don't even think about technically contributing to software that can be used to topple us.


Smash a nose, freak everybody out, nobody says shit after that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtkM2SPaSJ8&feature=youtu...


Given the utter insanity of what happened with this guy, I don't think anyone is in a position to judge what Iran gives a crap about or not.


Regarding precedent, your statement is absolutely true and happening now. Many brilliant iranian (even foreign born) technologists do not participate in open or entrepreneurial endeavors bc of their ties back home and fear of repercussions on self or family.

This case shows exactly how far and what the regime is capable of.


Minor clarification: it said he was a Canadian resident, not a citizen.


Yes I updated my post, you are correct.


I think the real thing to take from this story is never travel to Iran (until the people of that nation replace their totalitarian government with something respectable).


Avoiding Iran isn't a problem, but there are several countries with similarly non-democratic governments and strictly islamic environments. I've done FOSS consulting in the Arab Emirates. That suddenly looks riskier now.


Join me in refusing to do any work that involves traveling to the UAE - as a gay man I've never had to worry about what they'll think of any work I do..


As someone who has friends who smoke marijuana - and therefore, as someone who might have stepped on miniscule amounts thereof and trapped particles in my shoes - I ain't going over there, either.


That depends -- if had had been a Citizen of Canada, rather than a mere resident -- Canada would have been up in arms.


The government of those countries sometimes cares about that, but they also feel the need to set an example to appease the strict islamic side every now and then.

Your government being up in arms about you may not prevent a bad outcome.


...like those poor American hikers US government freed?!


Or America decides to do it for them.


That's deplorable. So basically, anyone who has code on GitHub that a pornographer (or other Islam-insulter) could use should never visit Iran.

Seems like a clear case of a coerced confession -- he confessed to something that isn't even possible. Why isn't the Canadian government going bananas for him? They've got their own damn oil, right?


> Seems like a clear case of a coerced confession -- he confessed to something that isn't even possible.

As I understand it, that's kind of the way things work in Iran. (Note that as a privileged white male, my knowledge of this comes from various podcasts, so my opinion written on a post-it is worth a post-it.)


Because he's not a citizen, just a resident. Iran probably feels like no other country can have a say in this.


Does anyone have data on how he was arrested? Was there some investigation of Iranian names in porn web sites or was he arrested because he was a Canadian resident visiting Iran and the porn accusations were pinned on him after arrest? The article says authorities spent a year assembling a case before any accusations were made.

Is this a risk any Iranian citizen returning from the West faces? To be arrested and have charges fabricated after the arrest? Are there any other cases of this?


So wait a minute, the Canadian government is doing something about this, right?

“Canada condemns Iran’s reported decision to execute Mr. Malekpour. Sadly, his case is far from the only example of Iran’s utter disregard for human life. The regime in Tehran frequently ignores principles like due process for its citizens domestically, and international human rights obligations generally.”

From that I gather that this is being looked at as "out of our hands" by the Canadian government. Is that right? I know that relations with Iran are murky for many nations, but this is kind of ridiculous.


What do you think Canada ought to be doing? Iran is executing an Iranian citizen for political reasons.


I think you misread it as "Canadian Citizen" instead of "Canadian Resident".


Sad, that we've made country distinctions such that one word can mean the difference between caring about whether this man lives or dies and/or whether my country should do something about it.


Agreed. Despite my misunderstanding, my original statement stands: this guy obviously did nothing wrong and someone should be working to get him out of Iran and back to Canada.


You would be correct.


In reply to all the Iran hostility...

Iran is not such a bad country. I can know because I've been traveling it for 5 weeks. It's a weird place, with a govt that is not much supported by the educated-youth. But not all that bad as the media try to make us believe.

US has not closed Guatanamo, where they do their own share of trial-less, unfair-trail and/or unreasonable-trial sentence execution (including death penalty). Should we all now boycott the US?

"Porn" is quite clearly just the flag under which this guy is punished for leaving (deserting) his country. Prisoners in Guatanamo similarly have an "official reason" for being there.

Believe me, here in the Netherlands I know some folks with strong sentiments agains the US, and I tell them the same: "The US is not such a bad country". So maybe it is just me :)


This is wrong in so many ways, I hardly know where to start.

The evil done by the U.S. government does not excuse evil in other places.

Regarding Guanatanamo: the way in which the U.S. deals with un-uniformed combatants has been ferociously litigated from within the U.S. by civil rights organizations. Discussion of the matter occurs in public, without fear of reprisal. The detention policies have been condemned in public by high-ranking members of the U.S. government and military. Although we have detained men who are clearly and completely innocent, no detainee has been sentenced to death. Some who have been released have subsequently returned to the battlefield to fight against us once again.

Even if what you say about guantanamo were entirely true, in no way would it excuse the actions of the theocratic regime in Iran which is happy to overtly and unaccountably murder its own citizens for the purpose of propaganda.

> "Should we all now boycott the US?"

There are many reasons to boycott the US. I'm sure you've noticed the froth over SOPA/PIPA recently, for example. Again, the evil present in our government doesn't excuse evil in other places.

> "The US is not such a bad country"

Tell your friends whatever you want; if your reasoning involves excusing the actions of the Iranian government, your advice is worth exactly nothing.


"he evil done by the U.S. government doesn't excuse evil in other places."

Hm, yet it seems evil done in other places does excuse US evil.


Are you talking about the current push to sanction/bomb Iran for its alleged nuke program? Sadly, I think what you say is true of many Americans.

Happily though, there are also a great number of American who disagree, loudly and vehemently.


Being a "bad country" is not relative.

Denial of due process is an abomination of human rights, regardless of the number of countries committing it.


A man is being executed because software he wrote was used in a pornographic website.

It's pretty reprehensible that you feel the need to try and derail the topic and apologize for Iran by drawing similarities to the US as if that makes it OK. But hey, thanks for downplaying this dude's impending death!

edit: I'm also not sure that the detention of captured combatants and the execution of a native citizen are quite the same thing


"""I'm also not sure that the detention of captured combatants and the execution of a native citizen are quite the same thing"""

Actually, the "detention of captured combatants" is worse.

Those "combatants" are not soldiers, and a lot of them are innocent (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8472804/... - http://www.amazon.com/Five-Years-My-Life-Guantanamo/dp/02306... and lots of other examples).

Even the guilty ones are held illegally, with no due process, no formal allegations, and against the US and international law.

Furthermore, most of those are not americans, but captured citizens and residents of another country.

The equivalent would be Iranian army guys coming to your house in New York, Montana or whatever, abducting you arbitrarily and holding you indefinitely in some hell hole. For some reason, the US considers it legit to do the same to citizens of other countries.

Now, in this particular case, Iran is in the wrong. But it's not like his status as a programmer or the porn accusation BS are the reason they are executing him. They probably see him as a dissident, or they have some suspicions in him being a spy or something, that they don't reveal.

Which reminds me: which country, based on lies they told regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction, invaded another country, causing thousands of deaths and massive instability in the area, including unleashing hard core fundamentalist fights?

Suddenly, one guy being executed in Iran seems not that important, doesn't it? Or are tens and hundreds of thousand of deaths OK when US does them, and bad when some foreign government does them?

Moreover, it's disgusting how this kind of stories are played and orchestrated by the media not out of concern about that one guy (if that was the case, the concern would be shared to other guys in the same situation, including in Saudi Arabia and the US itself), but to turn the people to justify some incoming invasion against Iran.

Does the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and hundreds like him justify an attack on the US?


Have a shootout with a cop that is performing a traffic stop on your brother, get wounded(by cop's gun), have a gun next to you with spent cartridges from the bullets used to kill the cop, wear a holster for the gun in question.

Versus

Contribute to some OSS image uploader library

There are questionable cases in US Abu-Jamal is not one of them and none of them are even remotely comparable to a case of a guy contributing to an open source project and getting death penalty for it.


Well, he's not getting the death penalty for it --that's the public excuse and a shallow one at that. The reason he's getting it is because he has been targeted by the government of Iran, for some unknown reason.

The reason I referred to Adu-Jamal's case is because he's considered worldwide innocent and a victim of targeting. The things stated as facts above, are considered fabricated by the police, e.g: http://homepages.sover.net/~foodsong/mumia1.htm .

There are of course, a lot of other cases, including several people abducted from their countries and homes, taken to Guantanamo without due process, and then released after 5-7 years as innocent without any regard for the harm done to them. Who knows how many more innocent are in prisons like Adu Ghaib or in "co-operating" ally country prisons.


"Islamic Republic" of Iran is =/= Iran. As an American of Iranian descent I implore you to make note of this critically important difference. Thank you.


To me, your post didn't say "Iran isn't so bad" as much as "The US isn't so good". Which is not an unreasonable point, if not the one you were trying to make.


"Iran is not such a bad country. I can know because I've been traveling it for 5 weeks. It's a weird place, with a govt that is not much supported by the educated-youth. But not all that bad as the media try to make us believe."

I'm sorry, but if the government of a country is going execute someone for "violating the sanctity of Islam", they are a bad country.

By accepting this behavior, you are just allowing it to continue. I don't accept it and I will always be against a country that treats its citizens this way. More people need to stand up to this bullshit.

"Believe me, here in the Netherlands I know some folks with strong sentiments agains the US, and I tell them the same: "The US is not such a bad country". So maybe it is just me :)"

The US has some problems, but it's still better than 99% of the world in terms of freedom.

Unlike the US, Most of the world has state-controlled media and an Internet Firewall. Hopefully, it never happens here in the US.


99%'s incredibly naive, more like 50%.

Just to remind you America has:

  By far the highest incarceration rate of a 'free' country
  An abnormally high murder rate
  A recent history of torture and incarceration of foreigners without trial
Not particularly free in my book, especially the propensity to lock up relatively high proportion of its own citizens.


Quite right. Plus, I'd like to add, highly corrupt legislative bodies. Perhaps not nearly as corrupt as in many other places, but the stench of money and cronyism is pervasive in American politics.


So "most of the world" is China and some muslim countries? I'm pretty sure Canada, India, most of Africa and pretty much all of Europe have neither state-controlled media nor an internet firewall.

Of course, I do agree that people need to know about and boycott such regimes as much as they can.


> By accepting this behavior, you are just allowing it to continue. I don't accept it and I will always be against a country that treats its citizens this way. More people need to stand up to this bullshit.

I'm sorry, but you must be living in a dream world, where governments just sit back and allow the opposition to overthrow them... You know, it's a little harder to do that when the government in question is extremely rich (oil, gas, ...) and most things are state-owned, than in a country where the government lives off taxes and has to 'borrow' money from private banks!


Holy hyperbole!

99%? Most of the world has state-controlled media?

If the Iranian government violates the human rights of its citizens, that makes Iran a "bad country"? Are you being serious?


Iran's recent history is fraught with human rights violations. Each time stories like this are raised (on an almost daily basis), we need to support those who are actively campaigning to improve situations for Iranians, and do our part by informing our leaders of these concerns.

People can learn more about Iran's denial of education and send messages to UN members here:

http://can-you-solve-this.org/

Or help support campaigns such as "The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran":

http://www.iranhumanrights.org/

If anyone has any other information on campaigns/activists tackling human rights violations, I would love to hear about them.


> "Canada condemns Iran’s reported decision to execute Mr. Malekpour"

Is that really all Canada and other countries can do? Send a very, very angry letter using politically correct wording?


Pretty much. When it comes to international relations one must always tread carefully.

A scene from Yes, Prime Minister might help illustrate the point. Jim Hacker (the Prime Minister) is talking to Sir Humphrey Appleby (Cabinet Secretary) about a nurse caught with a bottle of whiskey in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Kumran, and sentenced to 40 lashes.

Jim: This is very worrying. There's a lot of public sympathy.

Humphrey: I'm sure the Foreign Secretary will advise you.

Jim: He advises me to do nothing.

Humphrey: I'm sure that's good advice.

Jim: Humphrey, we must do something.

Humphrey: The Kumranis are good friends of Britain. They placed a huge defense contract with us, they tell us about the Soviets in Iraq, they even sabotage OPEC agreements for us. We can't afford to upset them.

Jim: I know, but a British national is facing a barbaric punishment for a trivial offense. The Foreign Office is there to protect British nationals.

Humphrey: To protect British interests.

Jim: It's not in her interest to be flogged.

Humphrey: It's not in ours to prevent it.

Jim: This could hurt the government very badly.

Humphrey: Well, I understand that tomorrow the Foreign Secretary will deliver a strong note of protest.

Jim: Why can't he do it now?

Humphrey: We haven't got their agreement yet! We're seeing the ambassador privately now. Once they approve the wording, we hand it over. Then we'll have done all we can.

Jim: Very heartless.

Humphrey: It's safer to be heartless than mindless. History is the triumph of the heartless over the mindless.


Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian dual citizen, was severely abused and murdered in an Iranian prison in 2003. There was little the Canadian government could do but to send a very angry letter. This issue still highly affects Iranian-Canadian diplomatic relations.

For some of the details on the abuse she faced in prison:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahra_Kazemi


He's a resident, not a citizen of Canada. They don't have any explicit obligation to this guy.


Ok, I actually thought he was not Iranian either, but that makes more sense now...


I find that the article lacks the details about the software in question. In the age of hypertext no links are to be found. The problem with it is we can't for sure show how ridiculous the accusations are without having access to that information.

Or is it unknown?


Agreed, does anyone have more specifics on what exactly he developed?


More than on any other thread I've read on Hacker News, I'm driven to say on this in particular: what can we do? Iran's government site runs IIS. Pressure Microsoft to revoke their license (if it's even legit). I'm ready for war. I donated to TOR (I'll never travel to Iran) a couple years ago around the Iranian elections. This scumbag government must tumble.


This is just a screwed up verson of Islam they are having in Iran. If thats what Islam stands for, I don't want to be a muslim anymore. I am sick of these stupid gready people representing any religion( in this case Islam) from wrong perspective. There is no such a thing as killing a person if he/she disgraced Islam.


> There is no such a thing as killing a person if he/she disgraced Islam.

https://www.google.com/#q=prophet%20ordered%20killing%20for%...


Do you happen to speak Arabic by any chance? :)


What does that have to do with anything? Most Iranians DON'T speak Arabic. The ones who do are in the tiny Ahwaz region and many of them refuse to call themselves Iranis.


No, tho I am a muslim, I am not from arabic origin, so I just know some phrases and words concerning Islam


Wow. Poor guy. You try to make something useful, it gets into the hands of somebody that a country like IRAN hates... and you're to be killed. Never would have guessed this stuff happened/was possible when i was younger. blows me away.


Well, as usual, fuck religion


This has little to do with religion and more to do with power. There are secular regimes that have done equivalent (or worse).


Is it the religion itself though, or is it about tying the law execution and religion?


It's easy to check, remove religion and see if it helps or not.

It's of no use anyway. In most recent cases where one side was religious and other one wasn't, religious ones were usually bad guys. Stance on abortions, ID, this abomination. I can't remember them ever backing something good against secular people trying to do something bad.


In the spirit of fairness - really?

Communist Germany, USSR, Communist China/Mao, North Korea, Mussolini's Italy, etc.? All of those were or are "religious" governments?


I don't remember catholic church standing loudly against Mussolini or Hitler, neither russian orthodox church standing against Stalin. They were too busy fearing for their lives.


Stupid question time: Why isn't the title "Death sentence for Canadian web programmer"?

My naive reading of the article indicates that the man in question is a canadian citizen who was arrested when he visited Iran.


What I want to know- of what country is this man a citizen? It is no less awful of Iran if he is an Iranian citizen, but it might help explain Canada's seemingly lax reaction.

(The article says he was a resident of Canada. Residency doesn't usually mean citizenship, right?)


Until when people are going to die in the name of religion?


can he be extradited to canada to avoid this sentence?


what's an Iranian engineer to do. If you develop porn software, your government kills you. But if you work in nuclear engineering for your government, Israel kills you. I think the best policy would be for Israel to have a secret extraction program for Iranian engineers who are ideologically motivated and want to get into Internet porn engineering. Win-win-win-win (the last one is me.)


> Israel to have a secret extraction program for Iranian engineers

That's one very interesting idea. Offering citizenship and facilitating immigration will slowly brain-drain Iran which will, eventually, cause economic collapse a couple decades from now.

The only downside is that Iran's political environment already shows strong signs of brain drainage.


There are a couple of problems with this:

- Iran sending "moles" to spy Israel or other countries.

- They would become terrorist targets (for being traitors to the regime).

- Some of them, even when they are against the government, are also against Israel. Religion is too much strong there.

And anyway, I think that they can ask for political asylum for their own, while visiting other countries (but I dont know if they are free to travel).


What is this, a joke?


yes!!


Iran's death by stoning is particularly brutal, as you can see by this infographic (warning: if you are easily upset, don't read this): http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/blog.html?b=news.natio...


Is there a chance he was a spy? I ask because there are other Iranians who have been arrested (and sentenced to death) for espionage when visiting Iran from overseas.


Are you one of the speculated pro-Iran bots sent to communities like ours who try to subvert public opinion on that backwards country?


Surely a user created only three hours ago, with only one comment and a random username wouldn't have nefarious purposes!

Better double-check. Offer him some bacon.




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