Iranian MPs Okay Bill on Political Crime
Iran’s parliament, or Majlis, approved on Sunday the broad lines of a bill, which would for the first time since the 1979-Islamic revolution, define political crime and enforce the rights of prisoners of conscience, reported the Tehran Times newspaper.
The long-awaited bill was firstly raised in the chamber six months ago, faced with strong objection from the minority of the Majlis, said the paper.
"By political crime we mean any politically-motivated act which undermines the Islamic Republic or violates the fundamental rights of citizens and public freedoms," the bill's first article said.
The second article of the bill enumerates forming of or affiliation to any group that seeks to disrupt state internal security, depriving citizens of their individual rights as well as preventing people from participating in the elections among political offenses, said the paper.
Insulting the head of a foreign state visiting Iran, giving away classified documents and spreading lies to stir up the public opinion also amount to political offenses, the bill says.
Other articles in the bill have been postponed until the next session to be discussed.
The bill gives prisoners of conscience the right to a retrial after its final passage and says all trials are to held openly, while also stipulating lawyer access for defendants in the course of the trial. The paper added that deputies still must work out all the details of the measure in further reading, while final approval hinges on the oversight Guardian Council which has previously blocked key legislation of the reformist parliament – Albawaba.com
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