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Web Developer Sentenced To Death In Iran 368

Posted by Soulskill
from the some-things-are-worse-than-sopa dept.
An anonymous reader points out the case of Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian-born permanent resident of Canada who worked as a web developer. In 2008, during a visit to Iran, Malekpour was arrested and detained by Iranian authorities on charges that he designed and moderated "adult content websites." In 2009, he was sentenced to death for "acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam, and agitating the public mind." Malekpour wrote photo-uploading software, and in a letter he sent from prison, he said it was used by porn sites without his knowledge. This week an Iranian court reviewed the case and confirmed that the death sentence was an acceptable punishment. According to one Canadian publication, "Human rights monitors believe that Malekpour, one of a number of people held on Internet-related charges, is trapped by a convoluted justice system that is manipulated by rival factions in Iran."
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Web Developer Sentenced To Death In Iran

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  • In other words, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:24AM (#38779705)

    You're in danger the second you step into Iran. Don't do business there, don't visit there.

    • Re:In other words, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by purpledinoz (573045) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:39AM (#38779761)
      What really irks me is that case of American hikers caught by the Iranians in Iraq. First of all, why do they have to go to Iraq to go hiking? They KNOW it's dangerous. By being caught, they gave Iran a bargaining chip. What the hell is wrong with these people?
      • Re:In other words, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:52AM (#38779789)
        Because it is remote, inaccessible and dangerous. That's the fun for the hiking hardcore.
        • by bky1701 (979071) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:56AM (#38779803) Homepage
          Or they could just go to Somalia and avoid the international incident bit, but with the added bonus of pirates!
          • by Cryacin (657549)
            The worst I'll tolerate whizzing around my head is mosquitos, not bullets. And even then, the mosquitos can't have malaria.
          • by Kalriath (849904)

            Yarr, tharr be Photoshop off the starboard bow!

            Oh... wrong pirates.

        • Nowhere near as remote, inaccessible and dangerous as Antarctica.

          • Remote, but not inaccessible or dangerous. My Antarctica trip started with a (small) ship from the Falklands through the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Good food, tea and fresh baked cookies at 4, and lectures in the evening. A few days' sail and we were hiking extinct volcanos among the penguin colonies on the continent.

            I just need Africa and Australia to complete the set!
      • Re:In other words, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:06AM (#38779831)

        What really irks me is how a random group of Americans can be discovered by Iranians wandering into Iraq, the media is told OH THEY'RE JUST HIKERS, and a single person finds the story credible.

        • Re:In other words, (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SecurityGuy (217807) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @11:32AM (#38781865)

          It is credible. Hiking's not my passion, but in mine there are "places to go" that are considered way better that what you can find in the US. If you've advanced far enough in your sport and want to push the limits ever further, you have to go to places that are dangerous. The danger you intend to face is environmental, but the countries that happen to house them also contain political dangers, as in your country hates my country.

          It's completely plausible. It's also possible they're spies, but it seems like a really dumb cover story. I don't speculate which is true because without direct info I can only say both are possible.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        First of all, why do they have to go to Iraq to go hiking?

        One possibility: Their CIA or DIA superiors ordered them to. Just because the Iranians are bastards about who they'll execute doesn't mean that they weren't spies, and the US intelligence agencies would definitely lie to the US public about whether they were spies in order to avoid blowing people's cover. In fact, they may even use a completely false story to try to convince the public that going to war with Iran is a good idea, if they have leadership that is part of the old and honorable profession of sta

  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by jmb1990 (1979110) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:27AM (#38779707)
    ...I've written some bad code in my time.. but not that bad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As the poor bastard that has to maintain some of your shit I would have to disagree.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        you're both fired.

  • Savages (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Canada should go to war over this. Another country is murdering one of their citizens (Iranian born or not) on trumped-up charges. Are there any crimes in this savage country that don't deserve the death sentence?

    • Re:Savages (Score:5, Interesting)

      by qbast (1265706) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:49AM (#38779781)
      I don't remember Canada going to war when another of their citizens [wikipedia.org] was captured and tortured by different bunch of savages on trumped-up charges. Why act differently now?
      • Re:Savages (Score:5, Interesting)

        by haruchai (17472) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:02AM (#38779823)
        Not to mention that they were complicit in the rendition of another of their citizens [wikipedia.org] into the hands of Syrian torturers.
        • by amiga3D (567632)

          Yes. Arar was wrongfully sent home to Syria, a country he is a citizen of, and they tortured him. He was cleared of any charges by them and a Canadian commision. He was later apoligized to by the Canadian Premier and awarded 10.5 million dollars(Canadian). A clear case of wrong doing by over zealous governments. It still hardly compares to the case above. Want to bet this guy survives to collect any money? Would you really rather take you chance with Iranian justice instead of US or Canadian? Don't

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        Interesting reading. You do realize he was captured in a firefight in Afghanistan don't you? That is the very definition of enemy combatant. He pled guilty to five charges and is serving an 8 year sentence for murder. Hardly sounds like a tourist and at least he can look forward to going home one day. I'm not a fan of Guantanamo Bay, if people are caught they should be tried and sentenced if guilty or sent home if innocent. This crap of holding on to people for years with no trial is definetly wrong a

      • - witchcraft
        - apostasy
        - blasphemy
        - homosexuality
        - crimes against chastity (i.e. the crime of being raped)

        And Iran executes more people, per-capita , than any other nation

        Also worth mentioning, Iran executes people for these "crimes" in the most gruesome, and painful ways possible: beheading, hanging, even stoning. The hangings are usually suspension hangings which are far more painful, and last much longer.

        Iran also executes children as young as nine years old.

        Other than execution, Iranian punishments inclu

    • by geogob (569250)

      After observing the Canadian conservative government go for a while now, I would say don't expect them to do anything. They'll just ignore it, because 1) he's Iranian, 2) it won't contribute to get them reelected and 3) it won't contribute to some good friends in the prairies.

      At most, what they could do is revoke his permanent residency and put some security flag on him (ie. put him on some potential dangerous people list).

      The conservative, not only do they fail at understanding anything related to interna

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Yeah. I mean it's not like Canada can do much after all, after it tells it's citizens. Don't go there. And it can't do much diplomatically besides recalling it's ambassadorship, and besides it's not like we're already in a roll with them after refusing them another embassy in the country because they're terrorist scuzz suckers in the first place either. You don't know as much as you think you know, let alone understand as much as you think you know.

        • by geogob (569250)

          I wonder how you can bring out such bold statements following a single vague comment on my part. THAT I don't understand.

    • Diplomacy would be a better move... It's quite likely that Canada could achieve his release through diplomatic channels. Or at least, it was quite likely before the current administration took over.... Now, I'm not so sure. But going to war with Iran wouldn't achieve anything, nor would it be a particularly intelligent move. Far more people would die.

      Part of the problem is that this person is a dual citizen. He's both Iranian and Canadian. If he had renounced his Iranian citizenship when he got his Canadian

  • Wait and See (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UncleWilly (1128141) <UncleWilly07@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:36AM (#38779743)
    He will end up being pardoned and sent back to Canada, thus showing Iran as having an enlightened justice system. We've seen this over and over again.
  • by bytesex (112972) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:36AM (#38779745) Homepage

    The question is: why oh why do all of these people go back to fscking Iran ?!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:44AM (#38779773)
      One day a guy was sleeping in the sun with his pants off, and the papa tapeworm and the baby tapeworm got out in the sun. It was a first for the baby, so it looked at everything with big eyes and started asking. Pa, pa, what is this big shiny blue dome? The sky, son, the sky. Pa, pa, what is this shiny yellow thing in the middle of the sky? The sun, son, the sun. Pa, pa, what is the beautiful green thing all around? A meadow, son, with flowers. Pa, pa, when there are so many beautiful things in the world, why do we live in this stinking hole? Motherland, son, motherland.
    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:53AM (#38779795)
      In this case, family matters. His father was (still is?) terminally ill. He wanted to see his dying rather one more time while he still had the chance. A story worthy of a cheap soap, but in this case happens to be true.
  • is trapped by a convoluted justice system that is manipulated by rival factions in [insert country here].

    FTFY.
  • On the one hand, one might argue that Malekpour knew - or should have known - what he risked by returning to Iran.

    OTOH, the death penalty is heinous in and by itself.

    The question that comes to my mind, and that I would very much like to have feedback upon, is: does this case deserve a campaign, under "us" computer programmers, geeks, architects, database tuners and birds of many digital feathers, to free Malekpour ?

    • by Zorque (894011)

      The summary itself even says that he didn't know porn sites were using his software, why would somebody know or even suspect they would be arrested for such a thing?

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:51AM (#38779787)

    You know, it's easy to just glaze over things like, "conversion from int to long," "unused variable," or "insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam." But it's better to fix them . . . it may save your life!

  • Death penalty (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lorinc (2470890)
    This is one of the numerous examples why death penalty should never exist.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GrBear (63712)

      I would go one further and say that situations like this is why RELIGION shouldn't be allowed.

      • Re:Death penalty (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:11AM (#38781159)

        While religion can be destructive at times, it does do a lot of good. I'm an atheist, but stating that religion should not be allowed is a violation of human rights. Prosecuting every religion is the same as prosecuting just one, which is often what happens in countries like Iran. However, the death penalty definitely should be banned.

  • The flip side of megaupload. Who knows which of the ~200 governments doesn't like what you do?

  • Maybe a case for avaaz.org [avaaz.org]?

  • Remember all those british sailors who got captured for sailing into their territorial waters?

    Again, forced confessions, torture.

    Iran is probably just flexing its muscles in an attempt to assert sovereignty.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:29AM (#38780067)
    If they had their way, this is the kind of "justice" that they want: the worst penalty they can get away with, using the full power of the state, and no effective appeal. In both cases, tyranny is the desired result.
  • Globalized injustice...

    Iran currently has one among the most insulting and desecrating governments on planet Earth.

    It is one among many countries who detain foreign nationals without a proper legal system, and like many other 3rd world countries it has retained the death penalty.

    How many countries act on these lethal principles? I don't know, but the list is long and is typically related to countries where the populace and those who believe in supernatural forces have a say on the political agenda.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:50AM (#38780135)

    So, a piece of software for photo uploading can damage islam? WHat a f*cking weak religion.

    Looks more like maybe he was the sole inheritor of property of his father, and someone wanted him out of the picture. So they came up with the grand charge of 'insulting islam' and bribed some judges..

    Tell me, according to these islamists, is there any person alive on earth (except those unwashed bearded mullas) who are not guilty of insulting islam some way or the other?

    Heck, everyone connected with any part of internet would all be guilty of insulting islam and therefore target for murder, then.

  • "Once in October 2008 the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water."

    So the Iranian government is worried about porn, but it's okay for its interrogators to threaten sexual assault? How does this make any sense?

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:15AM (#38780211) Homepage Journal

    Never forget [slashdot.org] that governments are inherently evil, because they occupy the space that is historically occupied by the inherently evil forces that fight for power over people.

    That's why Constitution is important - law above the government set by the people to limit what government can do.

    That is why people who should really be supporting a system of laws set by the Constitution, but who find themselves defending government's action that go above and beyond any Constitutional restrictions are so confused. Often those are the people who want government to cuddle them and give them entitlements and put obligations on others to provide those entitlements, but then government gains strength over all people and those who rely on entitlements are the ones who are going to suffer at the end, because those don't want entitlements can already take care of themselves and always see a government for what it is.

    • by dmesg0 (1342071)

      Constitution by itself means nothing. All dark regimes (including Iran and N. Korea) have some kind of constitution - it doesn't prevent the governments from either completely ignoring it or adjusting the constitution to their needs.

      What's really required for the constitution to work is an independent authority with power to enforce it, and much more importantly, people willing to stand for their freedoms.

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:17AM (#38780219) Journal

    ...are bound by illogical and fantasy rules & regulations that only makes sense to a fanatically indoctrinated mind.

    The headline in this post is also typical of the sensationalist kind, yes - it's sad that it's a web developer that got the death sentence, but it would be equally sad that it would be anyone in any other category as well, it's why they're being judged that we should react on - not what status they have in society.

  • Questions anunswered (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:53AM (#38780473) Homepage Journal

    1/ what's the name of the software (I tried to google him in various file extensions, but could not find him)
    2/ list of websites that use it.

  • Campaign to help (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lemming Mark (849014) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:56AM (#38780501) Homepage

    There's a campaign to help this man: https://peoplewithoutnation.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

    Most recently, there's an appeal to write to the Prime Minister of Canada, who hasn't yet spoken out in support of Saeed:
    https://peoplewithoutnation.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/take-action-write-a-letter-to-stephen-harper-canadas-prime-minister/ [wordpress.com]

    The death sentence could be carried out imminently.

    Saeed Malekpour was in Iran to visit his gravely ill father. He was waiting for Canadian citizenship and the Iranian regime are aiming to make an example of him, having tortured him and denied him due process. I think the Canadian government does have a particular moral duty to stand up for him under the circumstances, although really all democratic governments ought to oppose this sort of thing.

    The Iranian regime seems to have an interest in intimidating the population (and making an example out of cases that are highly-publicised internally, such as this one) since there's an election coming up in March, as well as the general interest in keeping the population scared.

    Amnesty also have some information on the case:
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-must-halt-execution-web-programmer-2012-01-19 [amnesty.org]

    I'm just piecing together some information I've found here, I'm not connected to the case.

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