After wide public and religious reactions to the case of pornographic CDs of famous Iranian TV-Cinema Actress, known as Narges, finally the Majles/parliament (the Islamic Assembly of Iran) on December 26, 2006 approved single-urgency of a new parliamentary bill in order to harden the current criminal sanctions on obscene audio-visual materials. In a rapid response to the misuse of the ever growing use of digital, the Majlis approved to amend the “1994 Act concerning Punishment of Those who Works in Unauthorized Audio-Visual Affairs”. Actually this Bill was introduced by more than 50 members of Majlis with a double-urgency, in an urgent reaction to existing public climate around the issue of the wide spread distribution of pornographic CDs. But at last the one-urgency of bill was approved by a vote of 175 to 2 with 4 abstentions. out of 209 members attending the public session Nr. 283 of Majlis. According to Majlis Daily this bill has now been referred to different commissions for their parliamentary review. Download Death Penalty for Cds_Bill.pdf
As reported in previous post, the bill, referring to criminalizing titles, like Moharabeh and Ifsad Fel Ard, which are open to wide range of interpretations, has prescribed death penalty for “distributors of private and family films and obscene images of Iranian women”. The bill was firmly criticized by Association for Defending Prisons, specially its director Mr Emadeddin Baghy who sent an open letter to the head of Judiciary and Majlis speaker in protest to this kind of harsh penalizations in dealing with such sensitive social and cultural issues. He recommends Majlis to reconsider the death penalty for these acts and to replace them with fine and imprisonments. “Sentencing these kinds of offenders by death penalty not only ignores the complexity of the issues, furthermore it resort to the most inhumane way of dealing with the issue. Such method ignores the question not solving it.” Baghy writes.
As Baghy reports, Iran’s Commander of Police announced that financial profit of productions and distribution of these CDs in Bazar has been estimated around 4 Miliard Toomans (about 4,5 million dollars). So if we consider that every CD costs in Iran under 1 Dollar, more than 4 million CDs should have been sold. And if CD has been watched by 3 peoples it means that more than 12 million Iranians have seen it. This really constitutes an astonishing and new phenomena in Iranian society.
To get familiar with the language of Islamic law makers in Iran’s today I tried to translate some parts of the bill as the following:
“Introduction: abuse of communication knowledge and technology by a few criminals has hurt public decency and reduced moral tranquility of many families. In the case of non suitable and deterrent measurements against these acts the life of many families and decency of many girls and women would be endangered. Thus, as in the current laws of country there are no deterrent provisions and proper punishments for those who prepare, produce, copy, publish and distribute images, films, CDs, DVDs and the like, what contents obscene and porno scenes and programs, and according to this matter that in existing laws punishment of those sexual perpetrators who offends peoples by non material compulsion has not clearly been determined, the undersigned bill is presented by a double-urgency….
The suggested bill in addition to fines introduces extra social sanctions titled “deprivation of social rights” from 5 years to life sentence.
The article 2 of the bill foresees the death penalty and states: “production, copying, publication and distribution of obscene works form Iranian women is regarded as Efsd Fel Ard (Literary: Corruption on the Earth) and major agents of production, copying, publication and distribution will receive capital punishment”.
This article has 5 notes in which:
Note 2. Those defendants who uses the obscene works as a mean to threat someone for purposes of: revenge, sexual abuse, pressure the other to abandon his/her right to complain will be sentenced to 74 lashes, deprivation of social rights for 10 years and imprisonment from 2 to 5 years”.
Note 3. If there is marital relation between producer and the actor, the producer will be sentenced to Tazir (i.e. up to 74 lashes or fine) and in case of publication and copying to the death penalty”.
Note 4. Publishing obscene works through digital and telecommunicate ways is regarded as publication and distribution and perpetrator will be sentenced to death”
Note 5. Defendants who publish, copy or wholesale distribute family fests, group parties and scenes of public bath and swim pools of women if the work contains obscene scenes will be sentenced to punishments provide in note 2 and if the scenes are just vulgar they will be sentenced to 74 lashes, deprivation of social rights up to 5 years and imprisonment from 1 to 3 years”
Article 6. All included offences in this law has public prosecution and laps of time, probation, mitigating circumstances and parole are not allowed”
Article 7. The security warrant for the perpetrators of these offences is at least 2 months”