Human Rights Watch had things to say about Iran’s proposed penal code in August 2012.
The new provisions also expand upon broad or vaguely defined national security crimes that punish people for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, or assembly. One troubling amendment concerns article 287, which defines the crime of efsad-e fel arz, or “sowing corruption on earth.”
Legislators have expanded the definition of efsad-e fel arz, a previously ill-defined hadd crime closely related to moharebeh (enmity against God) that had been used to sentence to death political dissidents who allegedly engaged in armed activities or affiliated with “terrorist organizations.” The new definition also includes clearly nonviolent activities such as “publish[ing] lies,” “operat[ing] or manag[ing] centers of corruption or prostitution,” or “damage[ing] the economy of the country” if these actions “seriously disturb the public order and security of the nation.”
Under the current penal code, authorities have executed at least 30 people since January 2010 on the charge of “enmity against God” or “sowing corruption on earth” for their alleged ties to armed or terrorist groups. At least 28 Kurdish prisoners are known to be awaiting execution on national security charges, including “enmity against God.” Human Rights Watch has documented that in a number of these cases, the evidence suggests that Iran’s judicial authorities convicted, sentenced, and executed people simply because they were political dissidents, and not because they had committed terrorist acts.
The criminalization of “enmity against God” is grotesque on so many levels. Maybe the most striking one is that it amounts to treating it as a crime to object to any aspect of reality. God is omnipotent, therefore, if you complain of anything (except kaffirs and enemies of God) you are an enemy of God, or at least vulnerable to the accusation. It’s a reactionary’s charter.