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Iranian resident of Canada escapes Iran after 11 years in prison

Saeed Malekpour

After 11 years behind bars in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison, Saeed Malekpour managed to land in the country of his residence, Canada, on Friday.

"The nightmare is finally over!" tweeted the sister of an Iranian resident of Canada who was held in Iran for more than a decade.

Malekpour was on a three-day furlough from prison against a $450,000 bail, his attorney Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei said.

Malekpour had returned to Iran in October 2008 to visit his dying father.

Iran's intelligence agents arrested Malekpour during the visit, accusing him of designing and moderating pornographic websites. Malekpour had created software that was used without his knowledge for the creation of an adults-only site.

A graduate of Sharif University – renowned as Iran's MIT – Malekpour was initially sentenced to death in 2010.

In December 2012, Malekpour's lawyer announced that the judge suspended the death sentence because his client had "repented" for his alleged crime.

However, he was denied furlough and even not allowed to attend his father's funeral.

Payam Akhavan, an expert in international law at McGill University and a former United Nations prosecutor who has been involved in the case for years, told CBC News that the Iranian government released Malekpour on furlough a few days ago after coming under intense pressure.

Akhavan said that no one in Iran, including his family members and lawyer, was aware of Malekpour's plan to leave the country.

"It was far from certain that the plan to bring him to Canada would succeed. So we are all very relieved," Akhavan said in a phone interview.

"It was dangerous. Really, until he set foot in Canada, we were not sure that everything would go according to plan," Akhavan said.

Iranian officials said on Saturday that he left the country through unofficial ports of exit.

Reportedly, Malekpour escaped Iran through an unnamed third country. He is now in Vancouver after losing more than a decade of his life behind bars.

Last Modified: Tuesday، 06 August 2019 12:55 AM