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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  (Source: BWOG)
Canadian government is upset by "unfair" treatment of its resident

Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian citizen residing in Canada, was given a rather stark reminder of the drastic differences between his home nation and his current working residence when he was arrested on a family visit.  

It turns out Mr. Malekpour had created an app for a client, which was later used to post pornographic images online, a serious violation of Islamic law.  Somehow Iranian authorities caught wind of this and the nation's Revolutionary Guard -- the nation's Islamist military/police organization -- arrested Mr. Malekpour when he was visiting relatives in 2008.

In 2010, he finally was tried before the nation's Revolutionary Court, a federal Islamist court.  He was forbidden to defend himself.  The court found him guilty and he was sentenced to death, in a decision harshly criticized by human rights advocates and Canada who complained that its former resident "failed to receive fair and transparent legal treatment."

Amidst the sweeping internet revolution that has occurred in recent years, the Revolutionary Court has made a special point of widely advertising cases like Mr. Malekpour's to "warn" citizens not to disobey the nation's strict Islamic law online.

Saeed Malekpour
Saeed Malekpour, visiting Niagara Falls, prior to his arrest. [Image Source: The Toronto Star]

But the accused has been spared of the most severe penalty -- death -- after making a plea where he "repented" for his actions.  The decision to suspend the death sentence was announced on Eid al-Fitr, the day at the end of Ramadan where people of Muslim faith commit to charity and peacemaking.  The holiday is known as a day on which Iran sometimes pardons prisoners.

Mr. Malekpour's lawyer announced the pardon on Iran's Mehr news agency, commenting, "After the sentence was confirmed my client repented for his actions. With this repentance, the death sentence has been suspended."

But the Revolutionary Court, according to Reuters, has not officially announced the suspension.  And even if it is, such decisions have been reversed in the past says The Toronto Star.  It points the case of Hamid Ghassemi-Shal, a Toronto shoe salesman who was accused of being a spy and sentenced to death.  Mr. Ghassemi-Shal was similarly reported to be spared, but his family was recently informed that the death sentence had been reinstated.  It is unknown if he has been executed, but in April 2012 his sister was told the execution was "imminent".

The stories serve as a grim reminder that while Iran has advanced remarkably in terms of industry and technology, it remains very much entrenched in archaic and punitive legal traditions.

Sources: Reuters [on the NYTimes], Toronto Star



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Family are always a pain
By bebimbap on 12/3/2012 12:38:24 PM , Rating: 0
"when he was arrested on a family visit."

As tragic as this sounds, he made a combination of choices, all on his own that lead him to this situation.

1) he didn't become a Canadian citizen.
2) knowing the harsh punishment he would receive, he still made the app
3) he didn't cut off ties to his family in another country
4) knowing the harsh punishment he would receive, he went back to his country of citizenship
*) since i don't know if this is true, but he probably told his family of the app he made. If that is true, it is highly probable they were the ones that told the authorities. Highly likely in Islamic society, as they will even stone their own little sister/daughter if they are found a victim of rape, let alone consensual.




RE: Family are always a pain
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/3/2012 12:47:39 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
1) he didn't become a Canadian citizen.
Immaterial. If you read the blurb on Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, he was an Iranian born man who became a Canadian citizen, and he was still sentenced to death.

Canada has no power to prevent Iranian courts from acting in whatever extremist fashion they please.
quote:
2) knowing the harsh punishment he would receive, he still made the app
Perhaps you missed the part where he said he didn't know the app would be used for that purpose? He made an app to upload photos -- it's certainly plausible he's telling the truth there.
quote:
3) he didn't cut off ties to his family in another country
I'll give you this one -- you're 1 for 3 at this point.

But really, can you blame a man for wanting to see his family? I agree it would have been smarter to stay away, though. I know some Iranians who are doing precisely that because they are familiar with the stories. Once you go back, you may never be able to return to your new home.
quote:
4) knowing the harsh punishment he would receive, he went back to his country of citizenship
Again, he claims not to have known how the app was used after he finished it. And he certainly was unaware that the Iranian authorities were going to arrest him, from all the accounts I have read. It sounds like it was a complete surprise/shock to both him and his family.

I'd suggest you do some reading before making such bold and offensive statements about a man who may still be tragically put to death. You're talking about a man's life here.


RE: Family are always a pain
By Gondor on 12/3/2012 1:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Canada has no power to prevent Iranian courts from acting in whatever extremist fashion they please.


Which is perfectly understandable - afterall Iran has no power to prevent Canadian courts from acting in whatever extremist fashion they please either and that's how it should be. If one doesn't want to be subjected to laws of a certain jurisdiction, then one should avoid travelling to the areas where these laws apply.

There are only a handful of countries in the world that perceive themselves to be above the sovereignty of other countries, but these include neither Iran nor Canada.


RE: Family are always a pain
By Devilboy1313 on 12/3/2012 10:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
Lets list these countries, one at a time:

U.S. of A


RE: Family are always a pain
By Iaiken on 12/3/2012 2:13:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
quote:
1) he didn't become a Canadian citizen.

Immaterial. If you read the blurb on Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, he was an Iranian born man who became a Canadian citizen, and he was still sentenced to death.


Not only is it immaterial, it is incorrect. As a resident, Saeed Malekpour is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms regardless of his citizenship status. Even visitors are afforded the protections of the Charter for the duration of their stay here, the only additional benefits citizens enjoy over visitors/residents are uncontested entry/habitation and voting rights.

Furthermore, Canada began to categorically deny all Iranian extradition requests after 2000 on the grounds that Canada cannot knowingly hand over people to any government or agency knowing that they would be tortured or put to death if found guilty. In such cases, the individual of interest is granted permanent residency as a political refugee and is allowed to apply for citizenship.

In response to this new policy, Tehran stopped asking and switched to a policy of quietly ambushing people at the ports of entry when they return to Iran. Even now the Canadian Government is requesting the deportation of Mr. Malekpour to Canada post-pardon.

It is because of this sort of forward thinking that Canada has surpassed the United States as a leading global exporter of constitutional law and why the Charter has replaced the Bill of Rights as the constitutional document most emulated by other nations.


RE: Family are always a pain
By othercents on 12/3/2012 2:36:44 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
In response to this new policy, Tehran stopped asking and switched to a policy of quietly ambushing people at the ports of entry when they return to Iran.


So given this Saeed should have known that he would probably be detained when arriving in Iran. Or at least the Canadian Government should have informed people leaving Canada to go to Iran that they will probably be detained.


RE: Family are always a pain
By Iaiken on 12/3/2012 4:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So given this Saeed should have known that he would probably be detained when arriving in Iran. Or at least the Canadian Government should have informed people leaving Canada to go to Iran that they will probably be detained.


http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/iran

The government has already done so and a similar travel advisory was in place at the time of Mr. Malekpour's capture. Canadian airlines have been prohibited from travelling to the country since the takeover by the current regime, however, it is still possible to get there and back via Air France Toronto-Paris-Tehran flights.


RE: Family are always a pain
By bebimbap on 12/3/2012 2:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
Jason, the points I was trying to make was, he went there and though he didn't know the consequences, but he should have been prepared to die. If he wasn't prepared to die there, he should have just became a Canadian citizen and stayed the hell out of the country he left.

The country of which the man is a citizen of quite frankly views his life worth only as much as keeping the masses in check. If he stayed in a country where his life meant more than that, I would agree that my statements would be offensive. He/his family says he didn't know that the app would be used for that but I doubt that is true. As most guilty people say "I ain't done nothin'"

I've been told by American army personnel that American troops went to Iraq and gave the wrong hand signals for stopping civilian cars at military stops and shot to death many unknowing innocent people. http://savageminds.org/2008/09/28/how-not-to-signa... Now this is definitely wrong since people from another country ignorantly shoot up innocent civilians, instead of learning the culture. In this case execution is acceptable if you are an ignorant american soldier?

I know of a missionary that went to the most rural or rural areas of China, caught one of the common diseases there and died from it, but that person knew of the consequences of going to such areas and accepting it, went. Who should be blamed for such a death?

In a case, of a man who had lived in a country where it was accepted to beat his wife to death came to live in the USA, were put in jail and sentenced to death, the news in his country of origin would also put up an article saying "Evil Americans repress foreigner beliefs" while a newspaper in the USA would say "Justice served for woman." Was it the man's fault for not knowing the laws of the USA?

Jason from your tone you seem to say "Ignorance of one's crimes is a defense for him" even though that is not a defense in any court of the USA.

What other countries do to people on their own land, and how people are treated there should not be judged or biased with American beliefs and standards. Know the consequences of going to any country even if it is your country of origin before going, or just be prepared to die there.


RE: Family are always a pain
By inighthawki on 12/3/2012 3:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've been told by American army personnel that...

While not acceptable, soldiers don't exaclty have a choice to not go, so there's a bit of an excuse when it comes to not fully learning the culture, especially if none of your training told you otherwise. You can't really pin the full blame of not knowing a country's full culture when you weren't even the one who wanted to go there.

quote:
I know of a missionary that went to the most rural or rural areas of China...

I don't see how that's anyone's fault at all. Why does someone have to be blamed? We live in a pretty sad world where everything bad that happens has to be someone's fault.

quote:
In a case, of a man who had lived in a country where it was accepted...

I don't care where you live in the world or how acceptable you think it is, but it is NOT ok to beat someone to death, and if you do you should be able to realize ahead of time that where you go, people may have a problem with that. Beating your wife to death is not a "belief," it is just a bad person.


RE: Family are always a pain
By bebimbap on 12/3/2012 3:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't care where you live in the world or how acceptable...


you are judging the cultures of other countries with your own beliefs and standards. Then they also have the right to "force" their troops over here and start ignorantly killing Americans while enforcing their beliefs and standards on us? While not acceptable, those troops don't really have a choice in the matter...
And when the smoke settles, they can just defend themselves with ignorance since that's a bit of an excuse when it comes to governments sending their military to other countries.

Maybe in your opinion you can send some missionaries and make the heathens learn English so you can teach them the "right way" to do things.

Again you as an American shouldn't hold other countries on their own soil to your standards and beliefs that even Americans cannot hold themselves to. As an US citizen, I believe we have to first hold ourselves up to our standards first before hypocritically pointing out the flaws in others.


RE: Family are always a pain
By 1prophet on 12/3/2012 6:39:02 PM , Rating: 3
Human rights are universal, the multiculturalism nonsense used as an excuse when it comes to certain things like slavery, spouse physical abuse, rape, freedom to believe or not to, etc. is just that nonsense.

That same mentality of don't judge our culture or way of life is what the South used to justify slavery and later on Jim Crow and South Africa used to justify Apartheid, they were wrong then just like it is wrong now.


RE: Family are always a pain
By ppardee on 12/3/2012 7:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard this 'universal human rights' thing before, but if they are universal, who defines them? When it all comes down to it, without an outside entity enumerating our rights, all our human rights are a matter of consensus (i.e. opinions).

Some people believe they have a right to do something that the vast majority of people believe they don't have a right to do.. who is correct? When it all comes down to it, a person or group of people will make the decision and they will be biased by their beliefs, experiences, upbringing and the current culture. That ruling may change in the future with the same biases in play.

In short, human rights are not universal if they are defined by humans.


RE: Family are always a pain
By 0xSingularity on 12/3/2012 10:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
There are objective reasons for that general moral consensus. There is an evolutionary imperative that drives mutual respect for each other's well being. Natural selection favored moral instincts (like empathy or guilt), because people who values others' well-being created a more stable/healthy society and were more likely to survive.

Imagine how far piranha's would get if they ate each other when they got hungry? Drop a hunk of meat in the water and they will go into a frenzy, but only eating the meat. They have instincts to not eat their own kind, and there is a reason.

Common 'opinionated' morals developed because of that OBJECTIVE group benefit. Prohibiting murder in groups is a logical extension of self preservation. Self preservation is a logical extension of natural selection. In essence, rigid logic gave us our basic moral principles.

There will always be subjective variation (nature/nurture) obscuring the objective structure. Some sociopaths have significantly different brain chemistry and cannot feel empathy at all.

However, following the wishes of the population could be thought of as minimizing the margin of error via the "wisdom of crowds" phenomenon.


RE: Family are always a pain
By Noonecares on 12/4/2012 7:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well when I was in the Army.. You do have a choice. Always have one. They don't take that away when you join. Also according to UCMJ during "war" treason can be punishable to death.


RE: Family are always a pain
By drycrust3 on 12/3/2012 4:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
he should have just became a Canadian citizen and stayed the hell out of the country he left.

Do you know the requirements to become a Canadian citizen? My guess is it isn't just fill in a form, wait a few days, and Voila! You're in!
And even if he was, that wouldn't have stopped the Iranian Government from arresting him, all it would do is give the Canadian government the right to see that the legal process for a trial was followed. Since the guy has had his legal right to defend himself revoked, then that pretty well just leaves the Canadian government really only to send in some commandos to extra him as their legal option.
I just feel sorry for every other Iranian who may have somehow inadvertently helped spread porn, e.g. people who work in the billing department of an ISP and phone company, people that dig trenches for fibre optic cables, people that install TV aerials, people that stock shelves in supermarkets that sometimes sell food to porn stars, people that sell petrol at gas stations that porn stars sometimes fill their cars up at, etc.
I just can't see how anyone going to Iran can't be implicated in a similar way to this guy, and he doesn't even have the legal right to defend himself. This all sounds like sour grapes to me: some minor Iranian government bureaucrat, not having got a promotion and a pay rise this year, has decided that bettering oneself is wrong, and just found a lame excuse.
This isn't a victory for the moral right, it's an additional chain of burden for the people of Iran because anyone who leaves and even a gains even a mediocre skill just won't be safe to go back, so they won't.


RE: Family are always a pain
By ritualm on 12/3/2012 8:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jason from your tone you seem to say "Ignorance of one's crimes is a defense for him" even though that is not a defense in any court of the USA.

No, Jason's response is that of the state of Iran lying through the nose to make their fabricated accusations believable. Apparently if I create an app that enables the act of uploading files, someone can then accuse me of enabling others to upload porn and therefore get sentenced to death.

It's not merely some warmongering liar from Fox News making such an accusation. It's from the state itself. It has just sent a message to the rest of the world, that they are willing to "shoot the messenger" to further their agendas.

All it takes to have your life irreparably ruined is for a man wielding lots of political power, e.g. Karl Rove re: CIA agent name leak, committing treasonous crimes to settle grudges. The relative repressive nature of the state has naught to do with whatever you're arguing about.


RE: Family are always a pain
By GatoRat on 12/3/2012 12:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
I gather the application wasn't intended to be used for pornography, but that it was. This allowed someone with a beef against him, be it family or friends, to get him arrested.

Unfortunately, even in democratic countries, there are so many laws, that someone with a grudge can often get you into hot water, though you won't get executed for it.

I too am baffled as to why he went back.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser














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