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Resident of Canada Escapes From Jail in Iran, Returns Home

Resident of Canada Escapes From Jail in Iran, Returns Home

Sunday, 4 August, 2019 - 12:00
AFP: This January 22, 2012 photo shows supporters demonstrating for the release of Saeed Malekpour in Montreal, Canada.

An Iranian serving a life sentence on a conviction of designing a "pornographic" website has fled the country while on short-term release from prison and has arrived in Canada, the foreign ministry and Iranian authorities said.

"Canada welcomes the news that Saeed Malekpour has been reunited with his family in Canada," Canada's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement received by AFP.

"We have advocated for Mr Malekpour's release and are pleased that he is now in Canada," the spokesman said, without elaborating due to privacy considerations.

For his part Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said: "this individual was barred from leaving the country and has apparently left... via unofficial channels and has not returned."

"This individual was sentenced to life in jail and had served more than 11 years of his sentence," Esmaili added, as quoted by the judiciary's official news agency, Mizan Online.

According to AFP, his sister posted a video on Twitter confirming he had returned to Canada.

"My brother Saeed Malekpour has just arrived to Canada! The nightmare is finally over!" Maryam Malekpour said.

Canadian media said he had landed in Vancouver on Friday.

Malekpour was arrested in December 2008 in Iran when he returned to his native land to visit his dying father. He was accused of operating a pornographic website.

He was initially sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life in prison in August 2013, AFP reported.

According to reports at the time, he had been found guilty on three counts, including "designing and moderating adult content websites" and "insulting the sanctity of Islam".

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