Apostasy in the Islamic Republic of Iran
(July 30, 2014) – IHRDC’s latest 50-page report, Apostasy in the Islamic Republic of Iran, details the jurisprudential as well as the legal context in which apostasy cases are prosecuted in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The report takes an in-depth look at a number of apostasy cases involving a diverse range of defendants, and provides an account of the legal and religious issues raised in each case.
Although apostasy is punishable by death in Iran, the Islamic Republic has never codified the crime of apostasy. Instead, relying on the Iranian Constitution, the Islamic Penal Code authorizes the enforcement of certain Islamic laws known as hodud crimes even when the crime is not specifically mentioned in the criminal code. The fact that apostasy is not explicitly proscribed by the Iranian legal framework, and the differences in interpretations of Islamic law regarding apostasy, contribute to a lack of legal certainty for those living under Iranian laws.
Apostasy in the Islamic Republic of Iran relies on witness interviews, media reports and court documents to demonstrate how Iranian authorities have handled apostasy cases. This report also describes how the Iranian government violates its international obligations with respect to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as the right to life.