Asia

Iran Parliament Requires Death for 'Apostates' As Crackdown Continues

Son of 1990 martyr among Christians arrested last month.

Two Iranian Christians were charged with "apostasy" and several others arrested as Iran's parliament approved a bill making the death penalty mandatory for those so convicted.

The measure is part of a new penal code that easily passed in parliament in a 196-7 vote on September 9. Christian and Baha'i communities are most likely to be affected by the bill.

But one source told Compass Direct News that when he discussed the apostasy section with some members of parliament, they said they were unaware of it. The source argued that the Iranian government was trying to bury the bill in the 113-page penal code.

Current Iranian law considers apostasy (leaving Islam) a capital offense, but punishment is left to the discretion of judges.

The Guardian Council, Iran's most influential body, must approve the penal code before it becomes law. Sources say they expect the council, which comprises six theologians and six jurists, to approve it.

Under the past three decades of Iran's Islamist regime, hundreds ...

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