A woman in Cologne put on make-up out of solidarity with the demonstrators in Iran
Photo: IMAGO/Ying Tang / IMAGO/NurPhoto
In Iran, freedom of expression is apparently to be further restricted with a new law.
As the Iranian newspaper "Etemad" reported, a draft law provides for severe penalties for false statements.
Members of Parliament had already announced a new law against fake news in December.
According to the newspaper, the draft now includes “dissuasive penalties for unprofessional expressions of opinion”.
The law provides for up to 15 years in prison, fines and professional bans if critics make false statements and thus cause "disorders and uncertainties".
It remained unclear who should decide what will be considered wrong and right in the future.
The law is likely to primarily target the activists of the mass protests since mid-September 2022.
The trigger for the nationwide demonstrations was the death of the Iranian Kurd Jina Mahsa Amini.
She died on September 16 after being arrested by the Morality Police for violating Islamic dress code.
Lots of leeway for arbitrariness
Since her death, large sections of the Iranian population have been protesting against the repressive regime.
Around 20,000 women and men are said to have been arrested during the protests.
Several demonstrators have already been sentenced to death in recent weeks, and a total of four protesters have been executed so far.
Human rights activists have been criticizing Iran's criminal laws and the way the judiciary works for years.
In particular, charges such as "corruption on earth" or "waging war against God" leave much room for arbitrariness, they say.