Iran’s stranglehold on Internet use in the country is no secret. From monitoring its users to blocking sites quicker than you can say Ahmadinejad, Iranian authorities will stop at nothing to ensure that their citizens’ Internet use is highly regulated. Even if it means they have to build their own Internet, so to speak.

The latest Internet-related piece of news to come out of Iran is probably the most disturbing we’ve heard in a while. An Iranian web programmer, Saeed Malekpour, has been sentenced to death on charges of insulting the sanctity of Islam. He was accused of  developing porn sites, and according to the Guardian, Malekpour’s accusation is the result of developing software to upload photos, which was then used by a porn site without his knowledge.

Malekpour, a Canadian resident, was arrested during a visit to Iran in 2008 and was placed in the notorious Tehran prison, Evin. Malekpour spent his first year in solitary confinement, with no charges brought against him.

With a confession, which Malekpour says was violently forced out of him, the Iranian Supreme Court sentenced him to death in June 2011. In a letter shared by Persian2English in March 2010, Malekpour wrote:

A large portion of my confession was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated.

The forced confessions went on for a month, some of which Malekpour described as “ridiculous”:

They asked me to falsely confess to purchasing software from the UK and then posting it on my website for sale. I was forced to add that when somebody visited my website, the software would be, without his/her knowledge, installed on their computer and would take control of their webcam, even when their webcam is turned off. Although I told them that what they were suggesting was impossible from a technological point of view, they responded that I should not concern myself with such things.

Using these confessions, which were recorded and broadcast on state TV, Malekpour was sentenced to death. In June 2011, the death sentence was suspended, and Malekpour’s case came under review once again.

Today, the Supreme Court has upheld the sentence, which could be carried out any day now. In a statement issued by his office, Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird said:

“Canada condemns Iran’s reported decision to execute Mr. Malekpour. Sadly, his case is far from the only example of Iran’s utter disregard for human life. The regime in Tehran frequently ignores principles like due process for its citizens domestically, and international human rights obligations generally.”

Malekpour’s case is not the only one that we have seen this month to come out of Iran. Last week, Global Voices reported that Iranian blogger Siamak Mehr could face the death sentence after a 15 minute trial in December. He, like Malekpour, has been charged with insulting Islam.