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In Iran, Blogging May Be Punishable By Death 495

An anonymous reader writes "In Iran, crimes such as apostasy (leaving a religion, in this case Islam) and armed robbery are already punishable by death, but a new bill in Iran aims to add to the list 'establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy,' effectively giving the government a free hand in silencing bloggers. The internet is widely used in Iran, despite its previous attempts at censorship. Will this change as the censorship grows more rampant?"
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In Iran, Blogging May Be Punishable By Death

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  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:29PM (#24068009) Homepage
    When every single Iranian I meet traveling abroad, without exception, apologizes for the actions of their government and expresses their shame for the theocrats in change, I wonder how long things can stay the way they are there. Doesn't Iran have an unusually high proportion of young people, and doesn't that often bode revolution?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:37PM (#24068077)

      Iran = Let us do what we want and you do what we say or the US will come get you.

      US = Let us do what we want and you do what we say or the terrorists will come get you.

      Politics of fear: it works. Sadly.

    • by RabidMoose ( 746680 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:43PM (#24068143) Homepage
      The problem you may be having is with your sampling group. Unless you happen to be traveling to Iran itself, the people you are meeting are travelers themselves, and possibly of a different overall mindset than hardliners, who would be less likely to travel. (I base this on my father, an American, who stoutly refuses to travel anywhere requiring a passport, simply because it's "not America")
      • Does he own a chevy pickup and hate Obama for not wearing a lapel pin with a flag?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nbert ( 785663 )

        I base this on my father, an American, who stoutly refuses to travel anywhere requiring a passport, simply because it's "not America"

        It always fascinated me that there are no US citizens in Europe who favor the republicans (at least in the last 8 years I haven't encountered a single one, but I only met around 30), which lead me to two theories: Either the republicans "don't make it" that far or some simply lie because they want to avoid endless discussions. Your comment supports my first theory, but in th

    • Good idea Iranians in power have significantly different values than we have in the West. Let's send some CIA operatives to Iran armed with cash for paying off citizens who can cause instability and start the revolution process. Hopefully the new pro-Western dictatorship won't every be overthrown by yet another revolution and replaced with anti-Western democratic republic. This can't possibly fail...
      • by grolaw ( 670747 )

        That worked out so well in 1953....

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        Current regime and Government in Iran should be like a dream for a War monger. If Iran was a sane regime with some kind of democracy, how would you explain if you declare a war on them? Current idiots are great for giving reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 )

      It is entirely possible that Iranians who somehow managed to get out, or were forced out, are not a representative sample of the overall population.

      In my case, I know a few Persians, and off the top of my head... one escaped with his parents who were associated with the Shah somehow. One was highly educated and decided to get the hell out. One is gay - staying in Iran obviously not a good idea.

      • I was speaking of Iranians I met who were still resident in Iran, but abroad on business or tourism.
      • by grolaw ( 670747 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:43PM (#24068737) Journal

        I'm old enough to have been in college when the Shah was deposed. Just prior to the revolution we had Iranian Secret Police (the Savak) all over campus. One was a gentleman "named" Salah who was given fake credentials and joined our lab - he was supposed to be working towards his Ph.D. in Endocrine Physiology - but had not clue one - consequently he contaminated our lab, our lab's Prof, me and two other grad students with I-131.

        I was the lucky guy to show "hot" first since health physics always ran a survey after we ran an Iodination process. The problem was that I did my work in a cold room and all of my materials were sequestered there - but my Thyroid and then our lab showed hot in a routine post-experiment radiation survey. It clearly wasn't my Iodine that had contaminated the lab when 100% of it remained in the cold room where I ran my assay.

        Salah had faked an experiment and had not reported his use of the radioisotope - so, my hot Thyroid lead to the discovery of Salah's real reason for being "on campus" and he pulled a vanishing act. That was in the fall of 1977 or early winter 1978.

        I knew quite a few Iranians at the time and this guy was bad news all around. After I showed up hot I heard about other "fakes" planted around campus - all pursuing advanced degrees and all backed by the Iranian government. They were there to intimidate Iranian nationals suspected of disloyalty and possibly to arrange for things to happen to their targets. This was a major state university with thousands of foreign students in undergrad, advanced and professional programs.

        If we agree to quit f**king with people around the world we might just have peace and, even a little prosperity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

      Nothing is impossible with support from gigantic forces if you take advantage of the fight for power between them.

      Just last Monday, one of the Turkey's most peaceful and democratic columnists who writes in the oldest newspaper, Cumhuriyet got arrested for attempting a coup. He was kept in custody for 6 days straight without having a single clue about what he may have done and refused to talk. Today, he gets released. There are massive clues about widespread wiretapping and servicing to the pro-govt newspape

    • OK, I know that the subject line is trolling but look at it this way, it almost seems at times if some actions of the world and even own our politics are just the opposite of whatever Bush declares just to be "opposite of Bush".

      Regimes like this exist for the same reason that Iraq existed for so long. Western nations don't necessarily have the stomach to put an end to them. We have lapsed back into the thirties where people were more concerned with their well being and as long as the rest of the world lef

    • yes they do have a large amount of young people and like all young people they have a strong tendency toward revolutionary, and fascist thoughts and behaviors. The present government has become very adept at manipulating these young people into supporting their equally fascist theocracy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:32PM (#24068029)

    This can't end well... well, for HIM anyways. I imagine it will end very well for the people of Iran.

  • Freenet now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by synthespian ( 563437 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:42PM (#24068127)

    It is time people start learning and using Freenet more.

    Everywhere you look, politicos are pushing freedom-restricting legislation for the intertubes.

    • by Turadg ( 13362 )
      You think they don't block Freenet?
      • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        I don't think blocking Freenet is possible. It is designed for that purpose in mind. In fact I suspect oppressing governments are possibly abusing it to look some kind of pervert thing to regular people.

    • Freenet is really pretty good these days; I first used it 5 or 6 years ago and I 've kept a close eye on it.

      The biggest problem it seems to have now is that there's no good reading material!

  • Irony? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RabidMoose ( 746680 )
    I'd like to point out the irony of this post being submitted by Anonymous reader
    • I'd like to point out the irony of this post being submitted by Anonymous reader

      More appropriate terms for describing this would be "survival instinct" or "darwinism". It's certainly not "irony".

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward



  • by Anonymous Coward

    In Iran, crimes such as apostasy (leaving a religion, in this case Islam)...

    Because you know, there are so many non-islamic states that murder their population for leaving the state religion.

    • Because you know, there are so many non-islamic states that murder their population for leaving the state religion.

      Apostasy has nothing to do with state religions. That line is simply explaining what apostasy means and then pointing out that it's specific to Islam in Iran in case anyone thought the crime would also apply to anyone promoting leaving Christianity or another religion too. Might seem unlikely but certainly not impossible that it could.

      As for another belief system where apostasy can still have negative consequences, I'd suggest Scientology for a start.

    • by orasio ( 188021 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:09PM (#24068411) Homepage

      They kill robbers, and talk about killing apostates. Other countries kill murderers, and want to kill rapists. There is a difference, but it's not a fundamental difference. It's only a matter of being more moderate or more radical. The values that determine what is a crime and what should be punished by death is slowly changing.

      A civilized country doesn't kill their people, period. A civilized country doesn't impose religion on their people, in an way.

      Some countries are getting more civilized, for some others it's harder. Anyhow, history has taught us that war doesn't accelerate this process, and some times it makes it go backwards.

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      "Apostasy" is an ordinary English word (definition []); it's useful to point out which is the religion in question in this specific situation.

  • The inducing and inciting apostacy act, or IIAA, will set a new precedent in Iranian law of contributory liability.

  • by BlueParrot ( 965239 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:05PM (#24068357)

    ..simply because I've had a boyfriend, I don't think this is particularily surprising. It is a supressive theocracy. Like other theocracies it has no qualms with torturing and even killing innocent people in order to silence criticism. This is common in dictatorships religious or not. The fundamental problem is the dictatorial rule and the regime's complete lack of limits in terms of what lengths it will go to in order to protect its own survival. Soviet was the same. Zimbabwe is the same. The only difference is what excuse these regimes use to justify their crimes. In soviet it was political ideology. In Iran it is religion. In Zimbabwe it is skin colour. What they have in common is that they kill and torture people in order to make the public afraid of organising opposition, their official reasons (religion,economics,race,culture) for doing so have little to do with their actual objectives. It's all about supressing dissidents, all other reasons is smoke and mirrors trying to obscure the true nature of the regime.

    • by mckorr ( 1274964 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:48PM (#24068777) Homepage

      In soviet it was political ideology. In Iran it is religion. In Zimbabwe it is skin colour.

      And in the US it's "terrorism".

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 77Punker ( 673758 )

        Don't forget about moral values.

        "Can't have fags and pot smoking hippies ruining our country for all us real Americans, can we?"

        "Join the military; it's the greatest service you can possibly do for you country."

        Independence day and the focus on the military gets me a little riled up. I have a (college educated) friend who works full time for Americorps building houses for poor people. He gets paid $600 a month for hard full-time work when he could be making 10x that much at a "real" job. He makes a differen

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:09PM (#24068409)
  • In america we sometimes have suicide by cops, but I wonder how suicide by blog would work out?
  • The new bill proposes death penalty for "disturbing the nation's psychological security", a broad, catch-all phrase that also specifically includes "establishing websites and blogs distributing un-islamic and indecent material" (i.e., porn, or anything that can be tagged 'un-islamic').

    The bill already has 180 signatures on it (including that of the Speaker of the House), and with the current parliament's setup, is guaranteed to pass. Even the minority so-called 'reformists' are likely to vote for it conside

  • Maybe it's just because I'm getting old and cranky, but I'd say for about 90% of the blogs I happen upon these days, I wish the death penalty were the punishment for blogging in the rest of the world, too.

  • by hahiss ( 696716 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:44PM (#24068753) Homepage

    In Soviet Russia, Death may be punishable by blogging!

  • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:58PM (#24068875) Homepage Journal

    In Iran, Blogging May Be Punishable By Death

    Wrong. Bloggers who set up blogs to promote apostasy, promiscuity or "corruption" may be opened up to the joys of the death penalty in future, not anyone who's "blogging."

    The headline as factual as saying, "In the USA, Touching Another Person May Be Punishable By Death." There are lots of other situations in which you can touch people than in the act of killing them.

  • Don't give the RIAA ideas...

  • by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @04:04PM (#24068933)
    The United States and Great Britain have only themselves to blame for the current troubles with Iran. If they had left the democraticly elected govenment inplace instead of overthrowing it in the 1950s and puting a 'tin pot dictator' in charge we would not have this problem today.
  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @04:06PM (#24068939) Homepage

    Many or all of these things are already punishable by death in Iran if you do them without the internet. Go over there and start distributing literature trying to convert people from Islam to another religion, and you've got a potential date with the executioner.

    Hence, it is not blogging that they are making punishable by death. They are simply closing a loophole that may have let yo escape punishment by using blogs instead of, say, print or radio.

    If we are going to be upset, we should be upset at apostasy being a capital crime at all, not that they have noticed that blogs can be used for apostasy and are closing that loophole.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.