my response to article by Mrs. Olivia Ward on Saeed Malekpour printed on Feb 2- 2017 at Toronto Star
by : Saeed Soltanpour
Eight years later his family is still asking the same question: how can we free Saeed Malekpour?
In response to your article on Saeed Malekour I am wring to express my points on your article.
in the first place I do believe that Saeed Malekpour Shall Not Be prosecuted in Iran since the porno sites mocking Musliam Shia icons developed by him, was operating out of Iran. Saeed Malekour accepted the developed of the sites but claim he had not running the sites and “hate ‘ Content “. However , the nature of the sites were subject of Canadian Hate crime which Ms. Ward ignore that fact. Sadly the process of the Malekpour case has not been transparent . some information kept secret to Malekpour Lawyer due to so called cyber intelligence and security clearance
Human right is universal , sadly most of those mentioned Human Rights activists in the article are politically motivated focusing on Iran .for instance, Ex Liberal MP Irwin Cotler is leading element on imposing sanction and shutting the embassy of Canada and Iran , pro violent anti Iranian group Rajvi in Canada
There are enough document proven Mr. Cotler had been leading human rights project iagainst Iran in alignment with Netanyahu Regime..
Is it a coincident Liberal minister Reza Moridi MPP, Payam AKhavan , Irwin cottler & Maryam Nayeb Yazdi united to support Saeed Malekpour while quiet on other human right abuses? I do not think So.
Saeed Malek pour is not a political prisoner or prisoner of conscious as wrongfully claimed by some political activists in Canada. Also, He has not been a hostage by Iranian regime for negotiation with Canadian on restoration of Iran and Canada diplomatic relation
So many Iranian Canadians fly to Iran on daily basis . Also, some activists opposing Iranian Regime including close family of pro violent group Rajavi or some well known scholars such as Dr. Mohmmad Tavakoli or Mr. Asad Zarin Mehr , Media , who traveled to Iran without any incident in the past . If they have been interrogated , there had not been any public announcement yet..
Iranian intelligent establishment know well that they pay heavy political price for any dual citizens been arrested in Iran. They are not stupid opposite of Mrs.Homa Hoodfar claiming in Her lecture . Then why they shall insist on the imprisonment of Saeed Malekpour who was not active in Iranian Community while residing in Canada..
4- Iranian ruling clergies are not democrats,they have not claimed so , Iranian from any walk of life are not free as we are enjoying freedom in Canada but you can not compere Iran to Canada on Freedom of speech and press . While You can not compare Canada With Mexico , too . however,. you have to compare Iran with the neighboring countries. Iran is not worse than Saudis and Israel or Turkey which all three countries are US and Canadian allies . the main factor is when you are pro White House , then violation of Human Rights your citizen is not that much Bad and internal matter..
Sell of $15 billion military armors to Saudis by anti Iranian PM Harper is one the examples of how double standard Human right concern is at work..
the sale approved by Liberal Trudeau government in 2016. .
A Human right activist will fight for the rights of any inmate ,any where in the world..
politicization of Human right will not help the detainees .
Mr. Mohamad Fahmi Ex -Aljazeera journalist who was one the speaker on university of Toronto Friday event has not criticized any word on Gen . Al Sisi for mass arrest of Egyptians include himself and other ALjazeera Journalists . sadly Mr. Mohamad Fahmi did not support other inmates who were abused in Egypt jails by guards when he was at Canadian soil after so many years in Jail.
Aljazeera TV has not been kin to Iran due to Qatar support of ISIS in the past…
It is at the best interest of Iranian Community in Canada that Saeed MalekPour to Be pardoned very soon in order to reduce the pressure by Israel lobby in Canada . Malekpour served 8 years in prison which is hefty price for development of those sites .
The release of Saeed Malekpour giving more open hand to Justin Trudeau who has been under tremendous reassure by Israeli lobby not to fulfill hos June 25 election promise to restore relation with Iran
The Israel lobby will put more pressure on Justin Trudeau with the support of few Iranians allies at the helm of new conservative leader who will be picked up in March 2017. . Israel Lobby is watching carefully our community , they have lost the Canadian political battle to Iranian community after the 5+1 UN resolution . they have learned that Liberal MPP Reza Moridi is a burned token within the Iranian Community which can not help their cause in the future . The Israel Lobby did not support counter parliament E-petition for “not to restore relation with Iran” supported by Peter Kent , Thorn Hill conservative MP and Reza Moridi . the E_petition got 650 Signatures that shows Reza Moridi real supported include Violent Mojahedin,. old Monarchists and few Opportunists..
Iranian Community while has to defend any one within the community who is in trouble or difficult situation but should not be decieded by some politicians crocodile tears. The community shown the maturity and caring , the political decision is not in our hands.
Association of North Of American Ethnic Journalists And Writers ( Canada )
Iranian Canadian Free Lance Journalist
Richmond Hill Canada
the article printed at Toronto Star
8 years later his family is still asking the same question: how can we free Saeed Malekpour?
Advocates ramp up pressure on Canada to fight to free 41-year-old Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour, sentenced to life in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.
By Olivia WardForeign Affairs Reporter
Thu., Feb. 2, 2017
For eight long and often desperate years, Saeed Malekpour has been locked in the dungeonlike cells of Iran’s Evin Prison, condemned for crimes he did not commit.
The 41-year-old Canadian resident has seen others come and go. Some have been granted “furloughs” from prison to rejoin relatives and seek medical attention. Other prisoners have been pardoned or had their sentences cut.
But all of Malekpour’s pleas have been rejected under the direction of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, the enforcers of the clerical regime.
They are in charge of an expanding campaign to clamp down on use of the Internet and social media. The arrest of Malekpour — an engineer and web designer — aimed to make an example of him through accusations that he worked for “foreign powers” to undermine the clerical regime by masterminding an online pornography network: charges that even the Iranian courts could not substantiate.
“Saeed and his lawyer requested a furlough but the prosecutor would not agree,” said his sister Maryam Malekpour, who will speak out for him at an event at the University of Toronto on Feb. 3. “Now both the prosecutor and the prison warden have agreed, but the Revolutionary Guards are opposed,” she said.
She will join a group of high-profile advocates who are launching a campaign to ramp up pressure to free Malekpour — and urge the Canadian government to use its leverage to demand his release.
It is a crucial year for Iran’s international relations, including an upcoming presidential election, a struggle over the nuclear deal that eased crippling sanctions, and negotiations to restore diplomatic ties with Ottawa.
Speakers will include former political prisoners Homa Hoodfar and Malekpour’s former cellmate Mostafa Azizi, who have spoken little about their ordeals until now.
Mohamed Fahmy, a journalist and former political prisoner in Egypt, will join them, along with former Iranian prisoner Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, MP and human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler, members of all political parties and Amnesty International Secretary General Alex Neve.
“Saeed was a victim of the system and he should be released now,” said Azizi, a Toronto-based filmmaker who was arrested in January 2015 on charges that included insulting the country’s supreme leader. He was freed in an amnesty after 15 months in prison — six of them spent in the cellblock where Malekpour is now held.
“Saeed has breathing problems, he has been through torture but he is trying to keep up his spirits,” Azizi said. “He is hopeful that he will come out soon. But that won’t happen unless he gets support from the government, and from people outside and inside Iran.”
Both men are Canadian permanent residents, a category Ottawa says makes it difficult for the government to intervene. Canada’s severed diplomatic relations with Iran have added to the problems.
But with Ottawa attempting to restore relations, advocates say, it is the best time for the Trudeau government to press for Malekpour’s release as part of the negotiations.
“It’s a re-engagement from which the Revolutionary Guards will benefit the most,” said human rights advocate Maryam Nayeb Yazdi, founder of the Persian2English site.
“For the past eight years Saeed has had no access to a lawyer,” she said. “His basic rights have been repeatedly violated and he has never received a fair trial. This is not the profile of a guilty man, but of a political hostage. Hostage-takers do not release their victims without an incentive.” Among other things, Iranians would benefit from easing of difficulties in obtaining visas if relations were restored.
Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian citizen and professor emeritus at Concordia University, who was arrested during a visit to Iran last year, believes she was a pawn in an ongoing power struggle between factions of the murky regime.
Charged with “dabbling in feminism and security matters,” she was released in October after 112 days of imprisonment and constant threats from interrogators. The detention was all the more alarming because another Iranian-born Canadian, photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, died after torture in the same prison in 2003.
Since then, hardliners’ suspicions of expat Iranians have increased, and a number have been arrested and imprisoned on widely-decried espionage and subversion charges. They have also been used to play out rivalries between factions who want to see more openness to the world, and those who fear a loss of power if they loosen their grip.
“In my case, I knew initially that they disliked the vice-president for women’s affairs,” said Hoodfar. “They wanted to show I had been guiding her in running a campaign for women in the parliamentary election. I met her once, by chance, and if I saw her in the street I wouldn’t recognize her.”
Hoodfar said that her captors “kept talking (aggressively) about dual nationals,” making it clear that they opposed entry of people that they believed were allied with reformers.
She was released in October on “humanitarian grounds” after Ottawa called on Iranian ally Oman for help.
No such efforts have so far been made for Malekpour.
Both Hoodfar and Azizi say that much more must be done to obtain his release — both by the Trudeau government and the public. Under the Harper government, an all-party vote to save Malekpour from a death sentence was followed by its reduction to life in prison.
“I believe I was released because of lobbying both inside and outside Iran,” said Azizi. “I was very well known as a TV producer and screen writer. I was connected to the arts and cinema community. Saeed was never well known, he’s just an accidental victim. Without pressure, he has no one on his side.”
Malekpour’s imprisonment has served its purpose for his jailers, Azizi added. “They are done with him. But he needs pressure from the international community to be released. The time is right.”
Malekpour has already suffered too much, he said. Now held in a grimy cell with up to 30 others, and given “food so bad it would often end up in the garbage,” he is struggling to survive from day to day. “In the years when he was tortured and under an execution order, the pressure was unbearable. In that situation, every day you think you’ll die.”
Campaign to Free Saeed Malekpour will feature a panel of speakers from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, at the University of Toronto Earth Sciences Centre, 5 Bancroft Ave., room 1050.