US & Canada

Canada concern at Iran death penalty for web designer

Saeed Malekpour
Image caption Mr Malekpour is said to have been detained in Iran since 2008

Canada is "deeply concerned" over a reported death sentence given to an Iranian-born Canadian for allegedly designing an adult website, an official has said.

Saeed Malekpour was convicted in Iran of designing and moderating adult sites, according to a campaign run by the 35-year-old's supporters.

Canada's foreign ministry said the legal process was highly questionable.

Mr Malekpour, 35, has reportedly been detained in Iran since 2008.

"Canada remains deeply concerned by the continued flagrant disregard of the Iranian authorities for the rights of Iranians," said Alain Cacchione, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon.

He added: "This appears to be another case in which someone in Iran is facing a death sentence after a highly questionable process."

'Insulting Islam'

Mr Malekpour was convicted of designing and moderating adult websites, "agitation against the regime" in Tehran and "insulting the sanctity of Islam", according to the Campaign for Release of Saeed Malekpour.

The campaign says the Iranian-born Canadian worked as a freelance website developer and created a software program that allowed designers to upload photos to their websites.

That software was then used, without Mr Malekpour's knowledge, for the creation of an adult website, the support site says.

Mr Malekpour moved to Canada in 2004 but was arrested in Iran in 2008 during a trip to visit his father.

He was sentenced to death on Saturday, according the campaign's website.

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