“Spreading corruption on earth” can only mean one thing in Iran….

Can a judge really say with a straight face that a person has been charged with ‘spreading corruption on earth’?  I mean, really?  Apparently so, it would seem. In Iran at least.  And anyone in Iran who is unfortunate enough to have this heavy charge levelled against him finds himself faced with a death sentence in Iran.

Such is the case for Saeed Malekpour.  A man who Amnesty has campaigned for Saeed since he was sentenced to death in November 2010 when he was accused of creating “pornographic” internet sites and “insulting the sanctity of Islam”.

Before he was arrested during a family visit to Iran in 2008, Saeed had created a programme enabling photos to be uploaded online which had then been used to post pornographic images without his knowledge. He is reported to have been tortured while being held for more than a year in solitary confinement in Evin Prison.

Recently, Saeed’s sentence was upheld which means that his execution could be imminent. Amnesty’s decried this decision and as our Iran expert, Drewery Dyke explained in an interview to the Guardian – the vaguely worded charge of ‘insulting the sanctity of Islam’ and ‘spreading corruption on earth’ is being moved to apply to cases related to the Internet, making it an “unwelcome addition to the catalogue of ways in which Iran finds it can execute its own citizens”.

We’ll continue to appeal against the execution of Saeed.  We are also pretty concerned about the recent arrests of three journalists in Iran – one of whom is a graduate of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.  Marzieh Rasouli, Parastoo Dokouhaki and photojournalist Sahamoddin Bourghani were arrested for again vaguely worded charges – this time ‘acting against national security’.  These type of arrests really shouldn’t come as a surprise to us given that the parliamentary elections are coming up in a couple of months’ time (March).  The authorities are sending a clear message that they intend to clamp down on anyone who dares to speak out against their rule.

Last year we warned of a killing spree in Iran as 600 executions were reported to have occurred in the space of one year.  It looks as though tragically Iran are not going to change their practice in 2012.

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