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Man Sentenced To Death For Developing Pornography Website
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The Supreme Court in Iran upholds the death sentence given to Saeed Malekpour, who was found guilty of promoting and developing a variety of pornography websites.

He was first arrested by plainclothes officers in October of 2008. He landed in Tehran’s Evin prison, where he lived for a year in solitary confinement without a charge and without access to a lawyer.

  
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After his stint in solitary, the 35-year old programmer went on state television and confessed to a variety of crimes connecting him to the pornography industry. Because of his television confession, Malekpour was convicted of moderating and designing adult materials online. The court in Tehran that gave him his conviction sentenced him with the death penalty.

After receiving the conviction, Malekpour retracted his confession in a letter he sent from prison. He stated that during the time of the television program he had been under much distress and was not in a state of mind to make any kind of remarks, especially a confession for a crime.

With his family’s support, Malekpour now says that he did not promote the pornography website. Instead, he simply wrote photo-uploading software. A porn website took this software for its use without his direct knowledge.

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Many discrepancies presented throughout the case, yet the supreme court still upheld the sentence. It caused an international uproar in June 2011, which led to the supreme court deciding to suspend his death sentence until a judicial review happened.

Maryam Nayeb Yazdi, a Toronto-based human rights activist, has followed Malekpour’s case closely. She said, “Saeed is in imminent danger of execution. He has never been provided with a fair trial at any point during this horrific and twisted ordeal.



“There are various discrepancies in Saeed’s case file that were supposed to be reviewed and investigated by the revolutionary court, but the judge ignored the discrepancies and reissued the death sentence anyway.

“Saeed is being used as a scapegoat in a string of political games led by revolutionary guards.”

Malekpour claimed in his letter that government officials forced his confession through psychological and physical torture as well as threats to him and his family. It read:

“Once, in October 2008, the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water. While I remained blindfolded and handcuffed, several individuals armed with cables, batons, and their fists struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck.

“Such mistreatment was aimed at forcing me to write what the interrogators were dictating, and to compel me to play a role in front of the camera based on their scenarios.”

In recent years, Iran has faced criticism around the world for its escalating use of capital punishment. Between the beginning of 2011 to November, it was reported that Iran executed at least 600 people.



 

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