Death Sentence Upheld on Iranian Web Developer Saeed Malekpour for Promoting Porn and 'Insulting Islam'

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By Arlene Paredes | January 30, 2012 5:48 PM EST

An Iranian national who earned a permanent resident status in Canada has been sentenced to die in Iran for "spreading corruption."

Saeed Malekpour, 36, was arrested in Iran in October 2008 during his visit.

Malekpour was convicted of designing and moderating adult websites, "agitation against the regime" in Tehran and "insulting the sanctity of Islam," according to the Campaign for Release of Saeed Malekpour.

The campaign, organized to lobby the release of Malekpour, says the Iranian-born Canadian worked as a freelance website developer and created a computer program that allowed designers to upload photos to their websites. Malekpour did not know that his program will be used to create an adult site, his supporters said.

Malekpour was first sentenced to death in 2010, but the sentence was reviewed in June 2011 after protests from Canada were lodged.

In a December 2010 BBC news, Alain Cacchione, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said:

"Canada remains deeply concerned by the continued flagrant disregard of the Iranian authorities for the rights of Iranians... This appears to be another case in which someone in Iran is facing a death sentence after a highly questionable process."

Following a review by the court that sentenced Malekpour, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld its approval of the death penalty.

Amnesty International says Malekpour has been tortured while being held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin Prison.

The website gerdab.ir, affiliated with the elite Revolutionary Guard, called Malekpour the head of the biggest Persian-language network of pornographic websites.

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