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Iran proposes death penalty for apostasy

The Iranian parliament is reviewing a new law that would impose a death penalty on citizens who leave Islam. In the past, the death penalty for apostasy was one of many possible punishments, including imprisonment and hard labour, for renouncing Islam, But the new law proposes to make death the sentence for all apostates, according to the Institute on Religion and Public Policy (IRPP). This is not something new, they just want to be more harsh towards those who are leaving Islam,” an Iranian pastor told the persecution watchdog Compass. The death sentence was approved by the Iranian Cabinet a month ago, and appears to have the needed parliamentary support to pass, according to an Iranian Christian. Many victims of the “apostasy” law are Muslims who convert to Christianity, but victims also include liberal thinkers and members of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority. “The draft penal code is gross violation of fundamental and human rights by a regime that has repeatedly abused religious and other minorities,” said IRPP 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.”


Iran has also suggested that a new Parliament be formed to group much of the Middle East and Southern Asia, operating much like the 27-nation European Parliament does today. The announcement, the first of its kind by a senior Iranian official, was made by the country’s Prosecutor-General Qorban-Ali Dorri Najafabadi. His remarks were carried by the official news agency IRNA and other state media. Speaking at a conference dubbed Building a Confident Future for Southwest Asia, Dorri Najafabadi also urged states situated next to the Persian Gulf to draw up a joint defence plan. If a powerful bloc was formed in the region, the foreigners would never dare to interfere in the region’s affairs, and we would not witness problems such as those currently existing in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine”, he said. He called for more judicial cooperation among states in the region – a controversial call given the Islamic Republic’s strict interpretation of Sharia Law. The radical Shiite cleric proposed that a “unified regional parliament” be formed to meet the interests of all countries in the region. Southwest Asia is generally considered to include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. It stretches from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt to Afghanistan.