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Home > English > Senators call for release of Iranian political prisoners

Senators call for release of Iranian political prisoners

Wednesday 8 February 2012

By Jeff Davis, Postmedia NewsFebruary 8, 2012

Twenty-five senators called Tuesday for the immediate release of 25 political prisoners in Iran, including a computer programmer and Canadian resident who is now on death row.

Sen. Linda Frum, who rallied her colleagues, said that Iran’s unlawful detention and execution of political prisoners - in particular, Canadian residents - is unacceptable.

"As a member of the Senate of Canada I condemn the Iranian regime’s deplorable abuse of human rights and call for the immediate release of unlawfully held prisoners" Frum said in the red chamber. "Canada will not stay silent on these issues."

Each of the 25 senators delivered a speech detailing the case of one jailed Iranian. Among them was Saeed Malekpour, a 35-year-old website designer and Canadian resident who has been condemned to death. He was convicted of "desecrating and insulting Islam" after soft-ware he developed was used on pornographic websites, without his knowledge. Campaigners for Malekpour’s release say he has been tortured with electric shocks and beaten with cables while in captivity.

Alidad Mafinezam, a spokesman for the Iranian-Canadian Congress, said members of his community are pleased the senators are speaking up and that their cries for help are starting to be heard.

Mafinezam said the Iranian regime is unlikely to be swayed by the senators’ speeches. He said a more effective engagement strategy would be to send a delegation of Canadian lawmakers to Iran, to make their case directly to Iran’s decision-makers.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

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