To the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
My name is Maryam Malekpour. I am Saeed Malekpour's sister. I am writing this urgent request to you on behalf of my family. We live in Tehran, Iran. My brother has been living with the threat of death in Evin prison since October 2008. We require your urgent help. When Saeed's lawyers visited the Revolutionary Court two days ago to follow up on his case file, they discovered that the file containing the death sentence ruling was no longer there, and it was not in the possession of the Supreme Court either. Saeed Malekpour’s lawyers were informed that this only meant that the case file was sent to the Circuit Court for Execution of Sentences.
One of Saeed’s lawyers said: ”If we [Saeed's lawyers] had a chance to review the case file, then we would have had a chance to prevent the execution of the sentence. By reviewing the case we could have pointed out that an expert has never been brought into the case for investigation. The case file was sent straight to the Circuit Court for Execution of Sentences." He continued: “Since Saeed Malekpour’s sentence is in the possession of the Circuit Court for Execution of Sentences, this means that they are capable of executing Saeed at any moment they wish.”
Saeed's case file was sent to the the execution of sentences office even though his lawyer's never reviewed the case file beforehand. Many illegal actions have been taken to condemn Saeed to death, including the fact that no expert has ever reviewed the case. Some other examples of illegal actions taken are: One of Saeed's charges is, "Corrupting the Earth", however no one, not even the lawyers have been able to review the charges in Saeed's case file. They want to execute Saeed but his case file still possesses discrepancies never investigated. The only evidence they have to condemn Saeed to death are hours of false confessions Saeed gave while under physical and psychological torture. I am aware that the United Nations already possesses a detailed record of Saeed's accounts of torture.
Saeed was living in Canada with his wife. They are Permanent Residents of that country. He came for a visit to Iran in October 2008 to visit his father, who died from a brain tumour shortly after Saeed's arrest.
We cannot believe Saeed was arrested in the first place let alone sentenced to death. We cannot believe that we have been forced to live a horrific nightmare every day for more than three years. Saeed can be illegally executed at any moment unless the international community defends his life. Saeed's lawyers have told our family that the only hope left is the international community. All legal channels within Iran have been exhausted.
We are desperate for your help!
Please help Saeed. We can provide you with any further information needed. If we all do our part, we can possibly save Saeed from execution.
Wow! That could have been me!
During the 2008 post-election protests and the beginning of the green movement, I aggregated all the images coming out of Iran into my personal
flickr account. BIG-STUPID-MISTAKE! These were brutal, news breaking images .
Little did I know people and news organizations around the world were including these images in their articles, blogs, tweets etc and attributing me, and sometimes printing my full name as the original photographer.
If you do a google search of my full name, you still come up with results like that (luckily not in the first page). I've tried unsuccessfully to get them removed.
Seeing what is happening to Malekpour, I don't think it's safe to go back. Not anytime soon
That's not the case. Forfeiting Iranian citizenship is a fairly complicated process that ultimately requires permission from the uppermost levels of the Iranian Government as well as completing your national service. As long as he has Iranian citizenship, it's irrelevant whether he has a Canadian passport or not, it's a basic rule of international law that your country cannot (officially) provide you diplomatic assistance in another country where you're also a citizen.
I wouldn't bet on it. At least not before imprisonment, torture etc...
Being a Canadian citizen might bring more international attention.. but when you're born in Iran, have Social Security number and are required to travel to Iran with your Iranian Passport and not your Canadian passport.. they will do whatever they want.
As annoyed as I often get at my country, it is things like this that make me glad to be here and able to voice opinion about all its flaws without fear of something like this. Occasionally I might have some regrets about my time in the service, but not today.
I just wish there was something we could do for this guy - I hate knowing what I know about it and also being completely powerless to influence the outcome of this in any way at all.
Considered SEALs at one point, ended up doing nuclear power work instead. Probably for the best - I wasn't very level headed in my younger days, and I'm not sure going into a gung-ho profession such as the SEALs would have helped matters. Technical work followed by college, on the other hand, did, and it's also what got me into programming.
Having said that, there are still days when I sometimes wish I'd taken on the challenge.
Nonetheless, I don't think a special-forces op to rescue a Canadian resident is actually in the works. If diplomatic approaches fail, this guy is going to die for writing software and video games that are critical of Iranian government. I feel equally guilty because my country (and others) overthrew their democratic government in 1953, meaning the current batch of goons is partially our fault. It actually makes me physically sad.
EDIT: Corrected the incorrect date for the Mordad coup.
You can do something. Our country's foreign relations with Iran may really shaky but that doesn't stop us from being able to officially condemn their behavior, which the international community will hear, and potentially echo.
Write your representatives and tell them how you feel and that they should do something about it.
All an echoed Official Condemnation will do is make the US more likely to invade Iran. It won't make Iran's behaviors less frequent. So I don't think an Official Condemnation by the country is a good thing, and I don't think it should happen unless we intend to start something; though others think this time will be different and we would be greeted as liberators if we invaded...
The US won't invade Iran. They might bomb it, but never invade. Too many people, terrain too difficult. 2.5 times more people than Iraq, and 10 times more rugged terrain. Also, they've never been there before, so operationally it's a far more daunting prospect even without considering the already huge challenges.
People might think "oh it could just turn into another Iraq." But, really, it can't. Not that pushing back isn't a bad idea. But, really, it can't. If anything happens, it'll be all bombs.
People said the same thing about Afghanistan, and Iraq too. Just because something is difficult doesn't rule out it happening at some future date. It's even more challenging to try to deal with North Korea militarily, but it would be silly to rule out the possibility entirely.
The future of Iran, and of Pakistan too, is crucially important to the future security or insecurity of the entire world. Who can say what future developments may bring?
About Afghanistan: the CIA had been involved in Afghanistan for decades. They had volumes of information, and allies. Russian involvement made a lot of information available (spies) and set the country up for interventionist scenarios. With Iraq, the entire military had been there 10 years before. Those are not the case in Iran. It's much more of an unknown. And frankly, Afghanistan really is easier to invade, so I'm not sure invading was such a shock as you claim, especially coming a mere 20 years after the Russian invasion. It's a country divided into self-interested warlord factions. Achieving any kind of lasting effect, that's another thing entirely... but sitting around having pot-shots taken at you, no problem. Especially if you can back it up with cash.
Sure, who knows what can happen. But it would practically have to be a new world order, slanted towards that possibility. So that's not a good reason for keeping a lid on any talk of Iran being unjust or unfair, just out of fear that such talk now would somehow contribute some fraction of a fraction towards intervention in some unknown, completely removed event in the distant future.
I agree. An invasion of Iran would be a real war, the likes of which we haven't seen since the Korean war. It would very likely involve a draft, and require at least 500,000 troops on the ground. We'd lose 20,000 soldiers in the first year of combat (obviously all the fighting after the first wave of battles would be guerrilla style). Iran is absolutely nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan, in any way shape or form.
It's not that we can't 'win' in an invasion style conflict with Iran - we can certainly flatten the entire country - but the cost would be far beyond anything the American public could stomach. The things we'd have to do to Iran in order to get them to capitulate would be beyond horrendous.
I don't believe we can actually afford the cost that would be involved. Unless Ben Bernanke is willing to monetize $3 trillion to fund it over the next few years. Maybe they're willing to do that and are that stupid, I'd just like to think not.
Bombs, no-fly zones, naval skirmishes - that's all we're going to see. Unless our leaders are really really really stupid.
Both the Canadian government, the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights, and Amnesty International have condemned this fast-track conviction/execution. I don't think the US government echoing an ally nation and a human rights organization will spark a war. However, it does help put international pressure on them which might make them hesitate to perform the same action again.
In any case, if you believe it's wrong you should speak out against it, no matter the consequences. Staying silent only allows the abuses to continue.
I didn't say it would spark a war, I said it would make it more likely. Maybe it would only make it a tiny bit more likely, I don't think the amount matters so much in this case. There's already a shitstorm of anti-Iran propaganda being spewed by the major media outlets, I think all but Ron Paul on the GOP presidential line up don't publicly admit any problems with having a war with Iran--a few even think Iran is sneaking in terrorists over the US-Mexican border...
We're constantly sabre-rattling about nukes (or doing more than rattling if you believe we're in cahoots with (most likely) the Israeli government ordering the killing of Iran's nuclear scientists (imagine if Germany/Japan had Feynman, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Bohm, and Bohr killed)). We threaten sanctions or bombing their nuclear facilities, Iran threatens right back with all-out war (only if we do certain sanctions or bomb them first).
So condemning them over this relatively minor action all things considered, just adds to the total amount of anti-Iran propaganda already out there (some of it warranted, most of it not), if it keeps growing then eventually it will be enough that the American Public demands war. I agree that regardless of what politicians chest-beat about they would have to be really really stupid to actually do it, but I wouldn't put it past this administration and this congress let alone with who might be coming up in the next few election cycles.
Meanwhile Canada et al. are free to do as they wish since they're not in the position to actually start something with Iran, and their words are just words.
Whatever dude. I don't really give a shit if it feeds the American war mongering machine. (It won't, because conservative Republicans could give less than a shit about human rights abuses, but that's beside the point)
Like I said before. If you think what someone is doing is wrong, speak out against it, regardless of the consequences. Some principles are worth fighting and dying for, and one of them is protecting the lives of innocent people.
(For a beside-the-point point next to yours, I'll note that it's not just conservative Republicans we have to worry about inciting to war.) Anyway, I guess I'll repeat myself and expand the "et al.":
Meanwhile Canada et al. are free to do as they wish since they're not in the position to actually start something with Iran, and their words are just words.
I'm a US citizen, I speak out against these things as much as the next guy here (which isn't terribly much, I don't claim to be an activist). I have a lot of opinions I like to push for with varying strength, some very unpopular. One of them is that the US government shouldn't be speaking out and condemning Iran's decision to execute this guy. I'm not trying to shut anyone up personally (though I suppose by proxy I do want to shut Obama up personally (or anyone in the US gov. with a lot of clout) because it's so easy to uncharitably interpret his thoughts as official US stances); I am trying to dissuade an official condemnation from my country for reasons I've already mentioned. I didn't even mention a secondary consideration that the US does many of the same things and worse, albeit on a much smaller scale, and because of that one could argue it should condemn itself before condemning others. But that's also beside the point, and to me it's a weaker argument.
1. we should not ever attempt to defend people being abused until we erase all vestiges of abuse from our own country or at least 'condemn ourselves',
2. saying that it's bad that some country abuses its citizens is going to contribute in a small way to the potential for starting a war with a country who continuously flaunts its nuclear program in the face of every international body that opposes it and threatens our allies with total annihilation, so we shouldn't make them upset,
3. Canada's words are empty.
You seem to have an unrealistic view on our relations with Iran. You seem to think that us complaining about the unfair treatment of its' citizens will make them more likely to threaten war. This is not really the case. They could give a shit what we think of how they treat their citizens. What they do care about is our continued insistence that they not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. That and the pressure of the international community imposing sanctions on them makes them pissed off.
As you said, condemning them for this is a relatively minor thing. So minor that they will probably completely ignore it; it has no bearing on their nuclear operations or their arms deals or their not-so-secret terrorist war with Israel. The only way it will even pop up on their radar is when their international partners mention it as a concern, because we're concerned. Again, this does not inspire them to go to war, but it makes them realize they have to be more careful about how they abuse their citizens, which in effect does some good.
Finally, for the previous reasons Canada doesn't have to "start something" with Iran. Most conflicts between nations are not dealt with by their military, they are dealt with by sanctions. Our military leaders have stated time and again that it's the only practical thing we have to deal with them at the moment. Canada has resources and influence which may apply here.
That unfortunately won't turn out to be the ethical thing to do. Our government overthrew Iran's secular, parliamentary democracy and installed the Shah — and it's still threatening them. (They fail to have a sufficiently obedient tyranny.) This proposal you mention is tantamount to supporting more attacks.
Fortunately, there's a lot of room to really help out mideasterners — by getting our government off their backs and stop supporting their regimes.
And anyone in an ethical mood need look no further than their own country! The US jails far more of its own people than any other country. On Feb 20, you can participate in a nearby Occupy 4 Prisoners. (http://occupy4prisoners.org/actions/)
Wait, are you speaking out against the US criminal justice system? Is that because you... plan to invade it? Or do you believe that maybe, just maybe, saying something might achieve the kind of push-back you want to happen?
Maybe countries could do that too...? Hmm. And I'm pretty sure they don't have to be pure virgin countries in order to condemn unfairness.
Wait, are you trying to reform Iran to internationally end the death penalty for certain crimes? Or are you just playing into CIA psyops to overthrow the Iranian government.
Maybe the U.S. could do that too...? Hmm. Too bad there wasn't this same energy to stop the U.S. from executing Troy Davis, or murdering Al-Awlaki's 16 year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen. Probably couldn't get that support in racist North America.
Under the NPT Treaty Iran has a right to develop nuclear energy. As for the Western canard about Iran's nuclear weapons, that dog won't hunt. It is also a double unfair standard for the imperialist U.S. and Israel to have nuclear weapons and prevent Iran from having similar weapons.
WTH are you talking about? A lot of things happened in the past, it's customary to let it stay in the past. The Iranian government had a chance to make things better for their citizens and for the world after overthrowing the Shah.
Instead, they try to control people's individual freedoms, suppress those who speak against them and who propose reforms, try to isolate themselves from the international community and restrict free trade, not allow the UN inspectors to see whether they're building nuclear plants or warheads, threaten other countries in the area and a lot of other stuff. It's going backwards.
It's true that there are some elements in the US and EU who'd like to set up the middle east as a source of cheap resources, but surely there is a better way to control that than isolationism and totaliarism?
On a side note, I'm pretty sure Mahmoud or any other government official wouldn't be arrested for watching porn, for example - that's the sort of inequality that people are fighting against for hundreds of years now...
I think we can agree on the evil of Iran's leadership, but...
> "A lot of things happened in the past, it's customary to let it stay in the past."
Except this behavior isn't really past. The U.S. is still eager to unilaterally overthrow the governments of other countries, for purely economic reasons no less. I'm sure you know which country I have in mind.
> "try to isolate themselves from the international community and restrict free trade"
Yeah, and United States of fuckin America don't cotton to no isolationism. That shit's a sure way to get on our bad side, especially if the "free trade" they're curtailing involves oil.
Note that refusing to participate in America's version of "free trade" is not illegal under any sort of law.
> "not allow the UN inspectors to see whether they're building nuclear plants or warheads"
They do allow inspections. A team of IAEA inspectors was there last month. The US just doesn't like to acknowledge this because we already have our fucking mind made up.
> "surely there is a better way to control that than isolationism and totaliarism?"
The US government in no way has a consistent policy. It's a $4 trillion beast, filled with millions of actors, and countless departments all running their show the way they see it.
More often than not, one hand is not talking to the other. They constantly leave each other out of the loop.
One department wants freedom in the middle east, the other prefers secular military dictatorships under the guise of stability. And so on and so forth.
One of the biggest myths about the US Govt. is that it acts with any form of cohesion internally. In reality, you might as well look at it more like a hundred micro states, all with budgets the size of a nation like Bulgaria (eg - $20 billion).
Do you have any evidence of anyone in the US being convicted and put to death for writing software without anyone knowing about it, or is this just some additional snarky rhetoric being tossed about that mirrors your dim view of the US?
Seriously, if the first, I would like to know. Unlike in Iran, I might be able to affect the outcome here.
I only said if it did happen here, you wouldn't know about it. I don't mean to offend your sense of patriotism. I still feel this statement is factual given the fact you're asking me for instances.
Can I prove someone was secretly detained for voicing their opinion? No. It's a secret. This is like asking someone to prove they don't have something.
What I do know is, due process has been suspended in the U.S via ndaa, the patriot act, and soon to be enemy expatriation act. I do know americans have been detained in gitmo for owning a casio watch.
I have nothing against the U.S. I live here and enjoy the privileges the constitution affords me. But I feel it is important to be critical of our own government rather than saying 'hey, at least we're not IRAN'. That isn't a very high standard at all.
Just two days ago, his sister Maryam Malekpour told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: “[Saeed] has been pressured [by security forces] to make confessions before a television camera, which he has fortunately not accepted”.
He didn't accept that, so now they're having him executed.
I'm unclear why Canada hasn't granted him citizenship while in Iranian custody, just to escalate matters. Although I don't think Iran recognizes dual nationality for its citizens, so even with Canadian (or US) citizenship, he'd still be an Iranian national to them.
Democracies have the death penalty, too. This is another example of why the death penalty is never an acceptable punishment for a crime; this guy hasn't even had a chance to appeal properly, and they're already planning to execute him. That's not justice, that's barbaric.
> This is another example of why the death penalty is never an acceptable punishment for a crime
I disagree. Bashar al-Asad has killed 8300 Syrian in the past 11 months, and now the country is on the verge of civil war. Some crimes deserve death penalty (though, obviously writing an open-source app does not qualify!).
The fact that the death penalty seems reasonable in one case doesn't make it reasonable. The death penalty is inappropriate because it doesn't have any checks and balances; if you are executed and later found not guilty, you can't be brought back to life.
It's clear that fear of punishment does not deter crimes; otherwise death penalty states would have no murders.
You assume due process is uniformly applied in all death penalty cases, which has been repeatedly shown to be false in America. I suggest Googling "death penalty lawyer asleep" as a good starting point for this topic.
I didn't assume that; what you seem to assume is that death penalty cases more often lack due process than other cases. You may well be right (I have no idea), but that would still only be a weak argument against the death penalty and a strong argument for ensuring due process.
I suppose what makes the death penalty different is that you can't fix injustice after the fact. Once it's carried out, it doesn't matter whether the verdict is overturned.
So Amnesty International has a hidden agenda here? Are you serious? What's wrong with the even simpler theory about investigating the string of innocent people getting the death penalty and the idea that these justified killings are political messages by the iranian government to the iranian people with regard the upcoming elections?
He was in Iran when he was arrested. The Canadian government has tried to get him released, but their influence is limited in Iran.
He may not have committed the crime while in Iran, but the Iranian justice system (what an oxymoron!) may have a different opinion on jurisdiction for online crimes. Maybe it took a page out of U.S. Law.
He's a Canadian resident, not a citizen. Unfortunately that makes all the difference in the world:
“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.”
Canadian governments condemns his execution, but nothing more.
And rightly (although sadly) so. Consider the reverse: A Canadian citizen takes up residence in a third-world country, where he has sex with minors. He returns to Canada, where he is arrested under Canadian law for engaging in sex tourism.
The other country may want to prosecute him, they may not, they may want to protest, they may not. But the Canadian government is not bound by any treaty or agreement to send him back to the other country.
What part of the treaty are you thinking of? I'm not aware of anything that would bar Iran from applying its laws to its citizens just because they've been living abroad for a while, though I am admittedly not the most well-versed in international law.
I have a friend in Canada (also a web developer) who is from Iran. This underscores for me, their fears regarding visiting their home country. I'm pretty sure if you get arrested, even while visiting with permanent residence in a country such as Canada, you're pretty much screwed.
If he held citizenship in any country in addition to or other than Iran, that country would have diplomatic channels to go through to deal with this.
Specifically to this case, you would like to think Canada would do more then write a letter to the government of Iran if he had Canadian citizenship, but I do really doubt they would do more than 'tense negotiations.'
No. Basically crimes are tried in the jurisdiction where they are (allegedly) committed. If a jurisdiction feels someone committed a crime in their turf and the person never was or no longer is in the jurisdiction they make a ruling without the accused present ie In absentina.
Iran wouldn't have touched Tim since he is a UK citizen. That is just begging for the US to go 'special relatioship' on his ass. Linus is a finn, so he is properly also safe. I don't know the last one.
In that case, it was clear that the Americans committed some sort of crime (straying across an international border), and so it was Iran's right to do whatever they wanted (to extract as much political value from the event as possible).
Someone visiting the country on a valid visa and facing execution because of their positive contributions to society in their home country is a whole other issue. I'm guessing that Iran, in that case, would have a lot less precedent to stand on, so they might not play the same political games.
I was hoping the threat of execution was one of the usual sabre-rattling, grand-standing moves Iran keeps making to piss off the international community or just to get back at them. Now it seems they're taking it too far. Surely the bosses in Iran can see how stupid this is.
Yes, I really don't understand moves like this. With Israel poised to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, and perhaps start an all out air war with them, you would think Iran would want to gain some good will from the international community... I would just write it off as a country run by madmen that are not rational actors, but any number of other madmen have played things better. I wonder what the regime wants for freeing him, maybe they just want too much.
This is not a rational assessment of Iran's rulers. The Iranian regime doesn't care about international good will. They care about power, and geopolitical advantage. They have been exporting terror to neighboring states for 3 decades through Hezbollah and other organizations. They have been involved in a proxy war with Israel for ages. They have recently been working as fast as possible to acquire home grown nuclear weapons, and the ICBMs to deliver them anywhere.
The Iranian regime doesn't care about world sentiment or about the Iranian people. They care about holding on to power and furthering their narrow ideological beliefs.
How about flooding Twitter with mentions to @chavezcandanga, asking him to ask the Iranian president to do something about this? They're very close, and his twitter account is really active. I just tweeted him this link.
Malekpour created porn websites. In particular, he created Persian porn websites - porn websites targeted at people who read Persian. Porn websites are against the law in Iran. He's an Iranian citizen. He traveled to Iran.
I strongly disapprove of censorship, particularly censorship of the "death" kind. But he should perhaps have been a little bit more discerning about his travel plans. This anti-porn thing is not new or unexpected. What did he think would happen?
The story I saw claimed that Malekpour developed open-source file-upload software that was later used by porn sites without his knowledge. Do you have a source for your claim that he was directly involved with the porn sites themselves?
From my understanding, he didn't create porn sites, he created a piece of open source software that porn sites have used. The last claims I read said they were forcing confessions from him via torture.
I don't know why HN people downvote comments like yours. It seems you raise valid questions on your post.
Anyway, I think Malekpour should not have worked on those things, even for moral reasons. You cannot reason with a snake. For the same reason I do not write stuff about Mexican drug cartels. I have family there, and I want them to remain alive (and in one piece), and I would like to remain able to visit without looking over my shoulder and endangering my family. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google for "mexican blogger deaths".
"Pick your fights" really applies to dealing with criminals and governments such as Iran's.
Justifies the need for technology education for people making the laws and giving ruling decisions that effect the lives of people. If the guy who made the cms for the site is given a death sentence then why not the people who built the web server and thus all the way up the stack ...
Then again its a "dick-tatorship" ...
The government is accusing him of having worked on porn sites, but all he did was write generic uploader code and make it available for any other site to use. It just so happens that the porn site used his code, but the author wasn't aware of it.
It would be akin to a kitchen knife manufacturer being charged for murder because someone was used their knives in a stabbing.