A former Victoria resident who spent nearly 11 years in an Iranian prison has returned to Canada.
According to video posted on Twitter by his sister, Maryam Malekpour, Saeed Malekpour arrived at Vancouver International Airport Friday afternoon.
Breaking: My brother Saeed Malekpour has just arrived to Canada! The nightmare is finally over! Thank you Canada for your leadership. And thank you to every single person who supported us throughout this time.Together we prevailed. ✌ pic.twitter.com/NyfiU65yQ9— Maryam Malekpour (@FreeSaeedM) August 3, 2019
Malekpour is a permanent resident of Canada. He was working as a freelance web programmer and living in Victoria before his arrest in Iran in 2008.
He was accused of running a website with adult content and was sentenced to death in 2010. At that time, CTV News reported the issue was a piece of software Malekpour created, which was used by a porn site without his knowledge.
He has said he was tortured and forced to confess to the crimes he was accused of, which were "taking action against national security by designing and moderating adult content websites," "agitation against the regime" and "insulting the sanctity of Islam."
On Saturday, Kimberley Motley, a lawyer who has been working on Saeed's case, said she couldn't discuss the circumstances that led to Malekpour's return to Canada.
"His sister, Maryam Malekpour, was very instrumental and spearheaded getting Saeed back to Canada," Motley told CTV News. "She never wavered. She was always fighting for his release. And, thankfully, now he's back in Canada with her."
Motley said she has been involved in the case for about two years, during which her responsibility was to do "whatever is legally necessary" to assist him.
"My role has been helping to assist, where I can, to get Saeed released from prison," she said. "We did call for clemency from the supreme leader. We did submit a clemency application on his behalf."
She said she could not discuss whether the clemency application was successful.
Motley said she has been in touch with both Saeed and Maryam since he returned.
"They're just elated," she said. "It's everything. It's happiness. It's disbelief. You know? It's just everything. There's a lot sort of coming at him right now, but they're just obviously, overwhelmingly, very happy."
Global Affairs Canada issued a written statement on Malekpour's case, saying it couldn't provide further details due to privacy considerations.
"Canada welcomes the news that Saeed Malekpour has been reunited with his family in Canada," the statement reads. "We have advocated for Mr. Malekpour’s release and are pleased that he is now in Canada."