February 5th, 2008 02:14 EST
Apostasy may warrant Death in Iran
Washington/Christian Newswire/ -- The Iranian Parliament is reviewing a draft penal code that for the first time in Iranian history legislates the death penalty for apostasy. The draft clearly violates Iran's commitments under the International Covenants on Human Rights, to which the State is party.
"The draft penal code is gross violation of fundamental and human rights by a regime that has repeatedly abused religious and other minorities," stated Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski. "This is simply another legislative attempt on the part of the Iranian regime to persecute religious minorities in the country and around the globe, especially Bahá'ís."
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."
"A careful review of the draft clearly shows that it is nothing more than a legislative tool to consolidate power around the regime and extend its religious tyranny globally," Mr. Grieboski commented. "Such legislation will not be accepted by the international community and that message must resoundingly be sent to Tehran."
A review of the draft can be found at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy website at www.religionandpolicy.org, or on Mr. Grieboski's blog at http://grieboskireport.blogspot.com.