Reverence for Life and Legislative Developments in Iran

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Abstract

Iran’s legislature, influenced by the law of Islam and moving along the reverence for life, has criminalized all crimes involving deprivation of life, whether intentional or unintentional, and provided for them both criminal and civil sanctions. Nevertheless, some legal rules, especially in the Islamic Penal Code of 1370, are in disagreement with the observance of the human life. The most important of these rules, among others, are: devolution of enforcing penalties involving deprivation of life to private persons in Article 295, note 2, and Article 266 of the Islamic Penal Code existence of the penalty of Rajm (stoning to death) in Article 83 of the Code execution of persons under the age of 18 and ambiguity in the Code regarding the deserved punishment for persons accused of mercy killing. These faults have induced the legislature to create some modifications in the Bill of Islamic Penal Code of1390 in which: the enforcement of penalties involving deprivation of life has, as a general rule, been devoted to the courts no express mention has been made to the penalty of Rajm ambiguity regarding the deserved punishment for persons accused of mercy killing has been avoided and some particular limitations have been attached tothe enforcement of penalties involving deprivation of life against persons under the age of 18. Despite these improvements, the Bill is not devoid of deficiencies and the present study is intended to clarify its faults and, at the same time, to recommend some positive suggestions.

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