The main purpose of this project is to analyze the penal law of modern Islamic countries and to compare it with the traditional Sharī‘a, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia and Iran. In addition to that, this project analyzes the human rights deb ...
The main purpose of this project is to analyze the penal law of modern Islamic countries and to compare it with the traditional Sharī‘a, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia and Iran. In addition to that, this project analyzes the human rights debates between international human rights organizations and Islamic countries.
In 1912, Iran introduced a Western and secular penal law system and had maintained it until the Islamic revolution in 1979. After the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini initiated the codification of Islamic Shari‘a laws into positive penal laws. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has not codified Islamic laws, but interprets traditional Shari‘a to implement it on criminal cases. Shari‘a, which is the main source of the penal laws of Saudi Arabi and Iran, comprises three categories: Hudud, Qisas and Tazir. Among them, the Hudud crimes includes theft, robbery, blasphemy, apostacy, adultery, sodomy, etc.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have carried out the highest number of death penalty execution in the Middle East during the period between 2007 and 2014. The numbers of execution by the two countries during the period, recorded by Amnesty International, was 670 in Saudi Arabia and 2,591 in Iran. And the average number of each year was 84 in Saudi Arabia and 324 in Iran.
Apostacy is punishable by penal law and/or family law in 20 Middle Eastern Muslim countries, representing the absolute majority out of the 24 Muslim countries. Twenty three countries in that area, except Djibouti only, punish blasphemy as a crime. The actual punishment for apostacy and blasphemy in those countries varies from country to country. Some Middle Eastern Muslim countries classify apostacy as a Hudud crime punishable by death penalty. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan belong to this category.
Many international human rights organizations say that Shri‘a is not compatible with the modern human right concept. According to international laws and standards, like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the death penalty should be limited on the “most serious crimes”, a term which has been most recently interpreted to
mean “intentional killing”. Saudi Arabia and Iran, however, continue to apply the death penalty to a wide range of non-lethal crimes, some of which are not recognizably criminal offences under international laws. These include apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery.