WEB PROGRAMMER AT RISK OF EXECUTION IN IRAN
(reprinted from Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org)
Saeed Malekpour has been in detention since his arrest on 4 October 2008. In a March 2010 letter he wrote about his arrest: “a few agents physically beat me severely and verbally abused me, while I remained handcuffed and blindfolded. They forced me to sign a few forms, but I was not able to read the contents”. Saeed Malekpour was held in solitary confinement from his arrest until 16 August 2009 and during this time was denied contact with his family or legal counsel. Saeed Malekpour was again transferred to solitary confinement on 21 December 2009 and remained there until 8 February 2010. After being reportedly beaten by guards and kicked in the face in January 2009 , Saeed Malekpour’s jaw became dislocated. It is not known whether he received adequate medical care. In addition to this, Saeed Malekpour has had limited access to legal counsel throughout his detention and Amnesty International understands that his lawyer has been unable to file for a judicial review of the case. Saeed Malekpour’s arrest in October 2008 was in relation to alleged cyber crime. Two other individuals were arrested around the same time: blogger Vahid Asghari, who had been studying information and computer technology in India prior to his arrest in 2008, and website administrator Ahmad Reza Hashempour. Both are also on death row after apparently unfair trials, awaiting execution in relation to their online activities.
In 2009, a group reportedly affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, alleged that some individuals, including Saeed Malekpour, were part of “a network of decadence on the internet.” The 2009 Law on Cyber Crimes in Iran extended the death penalty to such crimes. A relatively new and shadowy “cyber army”, reportedly linked to the Revolutionary Guards, has also carried out attacks on websites at home and abroad, including the Twitter site and Voice of America. Prior to his arrest, Saeed Malekpour had been living in Canada since 2005 and holds Canadian permanent residency. There has been ongoing campaigning in Canada for Saeed Malekpour’s release.
This year the Iranian authorities have acknowledged the execution of 41 people, including nine public executions. Amnesty International has received credible reports of 25 other executions which were not officially acknowledged, mostly of alleged drugs offenders.
Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party, states the death penalty may be “imposed only for the most serious crimes”. In November 2011, the UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees implementation of the ICCPR, expressed concern about the number of death sentences imposed and carried out in Iran in its Concluding Observations. The Committee stated that the Iranian authorities “should consider abolishing the death penalty or at least revise the Penal Code to restrict the imposition of the death penalty to only the ‘most serious crimes’”.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life and is calling for all death sentences in Iran to be commuted.
Name: Saeed Malekpour
Gender m/f: m
UA 55/12 Index: MDE 13/008/2012 Issue Date: 17 February 2012