Toronto Star

Canadian resident has heart attack in Iran jail


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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