TEHRAN—Iran’s Supreme Court has quashed the death sentence handed down last year to Iranian-born Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour (pictured), who was charged with running a porn site in his adopted country. Malekpour, who had moved to Canada in 2004, had returned to Iran in 2008 to visit his ailing mother, at which time he was arrested.

“That’s very good news,” his wife, Fatima Eftekhari, said after hearing the news. “I’m just relieved.”

The allegation was that Malekpour, 35, knowingly participated in the design of porn sites, but in March of last year, Malekpour wrote a letter to prison officials saying he had been tortured into confessing and that he had merely worked on a contract basis as a programmer and software designer. His family asserted that photo uploading software he had designed was used on porn sites without his knowledge.

His attorneys appealed the sentence, and while the Canadian government issued statements saying it was “deeply concerned” about the development, it did not intervene directly because Malekpour is not a citizen. Eftekhari, however, believes Canada’s efforts did help sway Iran’s high court, as did a campaign by supporters outside the country and relentless lobbying by his lawyers.

“Now, they are ordering the case for a new trial,” she said. Malekpour will remain in jail while a review of his case is underway, but his wife says it is only a matter of time before his release from jail is secured.

As AVN reported in January, two other men have also been sentenced to death in Iran for running porn sites.