In November 2007, the Iranian Judiciary has prepared a New Draft for the expiring current Islamic Penal Code. This new Draft is worth of attention from different perspective. In last days of December 2007, the Islamic Majlis (Parliament) has also rapidly approved the priority of the Bill and it is since then in Majlis for lawmaking process.
Over past weeks the new Draft has been under attack worldwide. Very recently even the European Union has criticised the Bill, particularly the apostasy section that imposes the death penalty for leaving Islamic faith. See the full text of the EU declaration on this issue here!
There are many new changes in this Bill. For instance, for the first time in the post revolutionary history of lawmaking and Islamization this Bill legislates the death penalty for apostasy.
The new Articles on Apostasy use the word “Hadd" (fixed and mandatory offenses/sanctions). In the past years, reportedly the death penalty has been handed down, and also carried out, in some apostasy cases, but it has never before been set down in law. Anyway, the Bill, in many cases, clearly violates Iran’s commitments under the International Covenants on Human Rights, to which the State is party.
For example, Article 112 examines the extraterritorial application of the norms of the code, by extending its jurisdiction over actions that take place outside the country. Article 112-3-1 refers to actions "against the government, the independence and the internal and external security of the country." Security as a term is not defined in the law, thereby making any action qualified as such. Consequently, groups considered dangerous to the regime all over the world can be liable for actions taken outside Iran that are considered as contrary to the security of the country.
Article 225-7 of the code states, "Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death," while Article 225-8 says, "Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death, but after the final sentencing for three days he/she would be guided to the right path and encouraged to recant his/her belief and if he/she refused, the death penalty would be carried out."
The proposed Bill, contrary to usual expectation, has an interesting dissemination against men this time; it prescribes death penalty for men apostates. That is women apostates will be only imprisoned.
Below is the translation of the Apostasy Section:
Islamic Republic of Iran
Proposed Bill for Islamic Penal Law (Penal Code)
Section Five: Apostasy, Heresy, and Witchcraft
Article 225-1: Any Muslim who clearly announces that he/she has left Islam and declares blasphemy is an Apostate.
Article 225-2: Serious and earnest intention is the condition for certainty in apostasy. Therefore, if the accused claims that his/her statement had been made with reluctance or ignorance, or in error, or while drunk, or through a slip of the tongue or without understanding the meaning of the words, or repeating words of others; or his/her real intentions had been something else, he/she is not considered an apostate and his/her claim could be heard and justified.
Article 225-3: There are two kinds of apostates: innate (Fetri) and parental (Melli).
Article 225-4: Innate Apostate is someone whose parent (at least one) was a Muslim at the time of conception, and who declares him/herself a Muslim after the age of maturity, and leaves Islam afterwards.
Article 225-5: Parental Apostate is one whose parents (both) had been non-Muslims at the time of conception, and who has become a Muslim after the age of maturity, and later leaves Islam and returns to blasphemy.
Article 225-6: If someone has at least one Muslim parent at the time of conception but after the age of maturity, without pretending to be a Muslim, chooses blasphemy is considered a Parental Apostate.
Article 225-7: Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death.
Article 225-8: Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death, but after the final sentencing for three days he/she would be guided to the right path and encouraged to recant his/her belief and if he/she refused, the death penalty would be carried out.
Article 225-9: In the case of a Parental Apostate, whenever there appears to be a possibility of recanting, sufficient time would be provided.
Article 225-10: Punishment for women, whether Innate or Parental, is life imprisonment and during the sentence, under the guidance of the court, hardship will be exercised on her, and she will be guided to the right path and encouraged to recant, and if she recants she will be freed immediately.
Note: The condition of hardship will be determined according to the religious laws.
Article 225-11: Whoever claims to be a Prophet is sentenced to death, and any Muslim who invents a heresy in the religion and creates a sect based on that which is contrary to the obligations and necessities of Islam, is considered an apostate.
Article 225-12: Any Muslim who deals with witchcraft and promotes it as a profession or sect in the community is sentenced to death.
Article 225-13: Assistance to the crimes in this chapter, in case there is no other punishment assigned to it by law, is punishable by up to 74 lashes in proportion with the crime and the criminal.
Download the New Draft of Islamic Penal Code of Iran New_Draft_of_the_Law_of_Islamic_Punishment_2007.doc