New law in Iran: Death penalty for 'online crimes'

Bloggers, editors can now be sentenced to death for promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy.

ahmadinejad 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
ahmadinejad 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
A new law has been passed by the Iranian parliament extending use of the death penalty to online crimes. Previously, only people charged with insulting Islam or drug trafficking had been sentenced to death. In accordance with the new law, bloggers and website editors can be sentenced to death for crimes such as promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) reported. Blogging about subjects such as minority rights and freedom of speech and religion has already carried a risk. In 2005, blogger Mojtaba Saminejad was tried before a local court in Teheran charged with insulting the prophets, which carries the death penalty. He was eventually acquitted. Last year, two Kurdish bloggers were sentenced to death on charges of subversive activities against national security, spying and separatist propaganda. Blogging is very popular in Iran - even the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has his own blog and the Persian language is one of the most commonly used on the Internet. The municipality of Teheran has now decided to follow the international trend of micro blogging and decided that every neighborhood in Teheran will have its own blog, the Iranian site Hamshahri Online reported.