Website Operator Sentenced to Death in Iran Over Porn Site

Dec 6, 2010 1:00 PM PST
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian officials have sentenced a man to death for allegedly running a porn site in Canada.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Saeed Malekpour was sentenced Saturday after being convicted as “corrupt on Earth” and a “warrior against God.”

Malekpour is an Iranian-born Canadian resident and returned to Iran to visit his sick father in October of 2008, that’s when he was put in Tehran’s Evin Prison and where he was given the news of the verdict.

Malekpour worked as a freelance web designer in Canada and designed a software program for uploading photos onto websites, which the Campaign for Release of Saeed Malekpour said was used, unbeknownst to him, for the creation of a porn website.

In March of 2009, he admitted running the site, which has since been taken down. Three days later, his father died.

In a March 2010 letter to Iranian officials, Malekpour said he was tortured and his family threatened before his confession.

His wife said Malekpour's online profile was used to create the site without his permission.

His wife said her husband's lawyer is appealing the case to Iran's highest court.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government is blasting Iran over the death sentence.

"Canada remains deeply concerned by the continued flagrant disregard of the Iranian authorities for the rights of Iranians," said Melissa Lantsman, spokeswoman for Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon.

"This appears to be another case in which someone in Iran is facing a death sentence after a highly questionable process," she said.

"We continue to call on Iran to respect its domestic and international obligations and ensure fairness and due process for all its citizens and others."

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