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Iranian Resident Of Canada Escapes From Iran After A Furlough From Prison


Saeed Malekpoor outside Tehran's Evin prison. Undated

After eleven years behind bars in Tehran's infamous prison, Evin, Saeed Malekpour managed to land in the country of his residence, Canada, on Friday, August 2.

"The nightmare is finally over!" twitted the sister of an Iranian resident of Canada who was held in Iran for more than a decade.

Malekpour was on a three-day furlough from prison against a $450,000 bail, his attorney Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei told Radio Farda.

Malekpour had returned to Iran in October 2008, to visit his dying father.

The Islamic Republic intelligence agents arrested Malekpour during the visit, accusing him of designing and moderating pornographic websites. Malekpour had created software that was used without his knowledge for the creation of an adults-only site.

A graduate of Sharif University renowned as Iran's MIT, Malekpour was initially sentenced to death in 2010.

In December 2012, Malekpour's lawyer announced that the judge suspended the death sentence because his client had "repented" for his alleged crime.

However, he was denied furlough and even not allowed to attend his father's funeral.

Payam Akhavan, an expert in international law at McGill University and a former United Nations prosecutor who has been involved in the case for years, told CBC News that the Iranian government released Malekpour on furlough a few days ago after coming under intense pressure.

Akhavan said that no one in Iran, including his family members and lawyer, was aware of Malekpour's plan to leave the country.

"It was far from certain that the plan to bring him to Canada would succeed. So we are all very relieved," Akhavan said in a phone interview.

"It was dangerous. Really, until he set foot in Canada, we were not sure that everything would go according to the plan," Akhavan told CBC News.

Iranian officials said on August 3 that he left the country through unofficial ports of exit.

Reportedly, Malekpour escaped Iran through an unnamed third country. He is now in Vancouver, losing more than a decade of his life behind bars.

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