Egypt Independent

Iran ‘suspends death sentence’ against web programmer

Iran has suspended the death sentence against a computer programmer convicted for allegedly designing a pornographic website after he "repented," Mehr news agency reported on Sunday quoting his attorney.

Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in December 2008 in Iran when he returned to his native land to visit his dying father and accused of operating up an offensive website.

According to human rights group and his family, the 37-year-old was found guilty in December 2010 on three counts, including "designing and moderating adult content websites" "and "insulting the sanctity of Islam."

Malekpour developed a program for posting pictures on the Internet and it was used without his knowledge for the creation of porn sites, human rights group and his family said.

"My client was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court and the verdict was confirmed by the supreme court… but he later repented," lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabee said.

"We now hope that my client will receive a reduced sentence," the lawyer added.

In late January the supreme court confirmed the death sentence against Malekpour, Iranian media reported.

The verdict provoked an international outcry.

In February, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Iran to halt the execution while Canada and rights watchdog Amnesty International also called for Malekpour's immediate release.