Home Iran Parliament to Debate Death Penalty for Bloggers

Iran Parliament to Debate Death Penalty for Bloggers

The Iranian parliament is set to debate a draft bill that would add a number of crimes to the list of those that can result in execution, among them “establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy.” Apostasy means the abandonment of a religion. The official Iranian news agency reports that the bill is intended to “toughen punishment for harming mental security in society.”

Iran already imprisons bloggers for challenging the government and executed 317 people for other crimes last year, up from 177 the year prior according to Amnesty International.

The French Press Agency reported on the bill yesterday and according to The Committee to Protect Bloggers, the BBC’s The World radio show will offer a more in depth report in the coming days.

Blogging is wildly popular in Iran, where a new generation of young people frequently challenge the old, hyper-conservative religious government. The Committe to Protect Bloggers says that Iran is “among the worst offenders in terms of harassing, arresting and imprisoning bloggers, as well as students.” You can see the group’s extensive coverage of Iranian cyber-censorship and harrasment of bloggers here. The Iranian government has blocked access to Facebook, Yahoo! and Flickr, among other sites.

We at ReadWriteWeb condemn the application of the death penalty to bloggers as itself an abhorent crime. Cultural relativism has its place, but this isn’t it. We want to offer our support to the new generation of Iranian young people struggling for freedom online and elsewhere, in any way we can, short of a US invasion of the country.

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