Iran makes it a capital offence to change faith
Saturday, 20th September 2008. 4:28pmBy: George Conger

The Iranian parliament has passed the first reading of a bill that imposes the death penalty on Muslims who convert to another faith. By a vote of 196 to seven, with two abstentions, the Majlis passed the “Islamic Penal Law” bill on Sept 9.

The law, which will now be referred to committee for final drafting and possible amendment, mandates the death penalty for male adult Muslims who convert to another faith. Women converts are to be jailed for life. Those who practice witchcraft will also be condemned to death.The law’s reach extends beyond the borders of Iran, and gives the government the authority to enforce the death penalty on any Muslim anywhere in the world who leaves the faith. While Iranian Islamic law, or Sharia law, provides for the execution of converts, the “Islamic Penal Law” would see these sanctions added to the country’s civil laws.

Introduced by the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad (pictured) in February, the legislation mandates the death penalty, removing judicial discretion in the sentencing of converts. However, the law distinguishes between types of apostates.


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