Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Iran: Don't let Saeed stay in prison for the rest of his life
Saeed Malekpour creates programs for the web. He moved to Canada in 2004 but in 2008, he went back to Iran to visit his family. To his surprise, he was arrested. He is still in prison today.
One program that Saeed developed is a tool for sharing photos on the internet. Someone used it to share inappropriate content. The government accused Saeed of sharing photos that make many people uncomfortable. But Saeed has said that people he does not know used the program he developed without his knowledge or permission.
In Iran, the security police view the internet and social media as a dangerous tool which can be used to criticize the government. The government has taken many actions to limit access to the internet and to control messages which are sent through cell phones.
For the first year Saeed was in jail, he had no contact with other prisoners. He was not even allowed to speak to a lawyer. After one year, he confessed to his 'crimes' on national television. He did not have a fair trial. Saeed later wrote a letter from inside prison. He said that he was not treated well and that he was forced to confess to things he never did. He was sure that members of his family would be harmed if he did not sign the confession.
Saeed has been sentenced to death twice. Each time, the government changed their minds after protests from the Canadian government and Amnesty International. He is now facing life in prison.
In June, Saeed is spending his 40th birthday in an Iranian jail. He hasn't had any visitors for the past year, but he knows he is not forgotten. He knows that he is alive today because of letters to the government about his case from many people. When his case received much attention on his 39th birthday, he was moved to a better section of the prison. On his 40th birthday, let’s see if we can get him moved again – to freedom!
Please write a letter to the Leader of the Islamic Republic.
Start with Your Excellency and a sentence about yourself to make your message different from anyone else’s.
• Explain that Saeed Malekpour’s work as a developer of web programs is not a good reason for putting him in prison for the rest of his life.
• If Saeed has done something that violently attacked a person or property, ask him to provide Saeed with a fair trial. You can add that the court must not use any confession he made while he was tortured.
• But if the only reason he is in prison is because he created a photo-sharing web program, ask him to release Saeed Malekpour now.
• If you wish, you could also ask him to investigate the report that Saeed was very badly treated in prison and to provide him with any help he needs to recover.
What else can I do?
Make or buy a birthday card for Saeed. It won’t be a “happy” birthday but you can send greetings, tell him when your birthday is, urge him not to lose hope, or explain that you are one of many people asking the government to give him a fair trial. Mail your greeting to
3-1992 Yonge Street
Toronto ON M4S 1Z7
Where can I find out more?
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