In another flagrant violation of international law and human rights, Iran is set to execute Ramdin Soodmand for the crime of converting from Islam. Sharia law mandates such punishment and Islamic countries continue to apply the penalty despite the fact that it violates core international principles. Indeed, Rashin’s father was executed eighteen years ago previously for the same Sharia crime.
The right to change your religion is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in the European Convention of Human Rights. Even Article 23 of Iran’s own constitution mandates that no one may be molested simply for religious beliefs. However, Sharia law has a highly offensive provision that requires death if you start as a Muslim and then become a Christian or member of another faith.
Rather than join post-medieval world on the issue, Iran is currently move to codify the Sharia rule as part of its “Islamic Penal Code. Adding state-imposed sexism to religious extremism, the law mandates death for men and life imprisonment for women. The legislature voted 196 to 7 in favor of the bill.
On these abuses, the world remains largely silent — deterred by the religious patina placed on such laws. However the treatment of women, non-Muslims, homosexuals and other groups in countries like Iran should be a matter for international sanctions.
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