Cana­dian res­i­dent has heart at­tack in Iran jail

Toronto Star - - NEWS - TONDA MACCHARLES

Fam­ily and sup­port­ers of Saeed Malekpour, a per­ma­nent res­i­dent of Canada jailed in Iran’s no­to­ri­ous Evin Prison, say the Vic­to­ria man has suf­fered a heart at­tack af­ter a decade of men­tal and phys­i­cal tor­ture in jail.

Maryam Malekpour, his sis­ter who now lives in Ed­mon­ton, and oth­ers are call­ing on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to se­cure his im­me­di­ate re­lease and safe re­turn to Canada. Maryam Malekpour, who be­came a Cana­dian cit­i­zen af­ter she too fled Iran af­ter fight­ing for his re­lease, said in an in­ter­view with the Star Wed­nes­day that two weeks ago, he was taken to a prison hos­pi­tal then trans­ferred to Tehran’s Taleghani Hos­pi­tal. She said he was first treated in in­ten­sive care, and later held, with an arm and a leg shack­led to a bed, for four days.

Guards pre­vented vis­i­tors from speak­ing with Malekpour, now 43, how­ever they were able to sur­rep­ti­tiously take a cou­ple of photos of him which they sent to her.

Malekpour said he looked “aw­ful. What I’ve seen in the pic­ture he is like 20 years older than what I saw” when she last vis­ited him in prison six years ago, be­fore she too fled Iran.

Malekpour, an en­gi­neer and web pro­gram­mer, had re­turned to Iran in 2008 to visit his dy­ing fa­ther when he was ar­rested, charged and sen­tenced to death on charges he had mas­ter­minded an in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy net­work and, more sweep­ingly, “cor­rupt­ing the earth.” Iran later con­verted his death sen­tence to life im­pris­on­ment.

“Our only hope is (the) Cana­dian gov­ern­ment now, and ask for Ira­nian state to re­lease him on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds, and for Cana­dian cit­i­zens to write to their MPs, and sign a pe­ti­tion for Saeed,” his sis­ter said.

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land is cur­rently on a Mid­dle East tour.

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