participating in peaceful unauthorized assemblies are often charged and sentenced to prison terms under Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code.4 The right to freedom of expression, recognised under Article 24 of the Constitution is similarly undermined by vague qualifications, such as being “deemed harmful to the principles of Islam or the rights of the public.” Article 40 further allows for restrictions of rights, including peaceful assembly, if their exercise is deemed “injurious to others” or “detrimental to public interests.” Similar provisions restrict the right to freedom of expression online through the criminalization of vaguely worded offences such as the “dissemination of lies” and what is deemed to offend “public morality and chastity.”5 These restrictions fail to meet requirements of international standards that limitations are necessary and proportionate, and in pursuit of one of a limited number of narrowly-drawn legitimate aims, per Article 19 of the ICCPR. This grants authorities’ significant discretion to impose overbroad and vague restrictions on individuals’ rights in violation of the country’s international human rights obligations. The revised version of the Islamic Penal Code,6 adopted in 2013, maintains numerous provisions which criminalise the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, in contravention of international human rights law and standards. To name a few, under the Penal Code, the establishment or leadership of a group that “aims to perturb the security of the country” is criminalized,7 as well as a variety of acts considered as propaganda8 or conspiracy against the state (which has been interpreted to include peaceful protests).9 Encouragement to “violate public morals”10 as well as satire are also penalized.11 Similar vaguely worded provisions criminalize acts such as swearing at12 or insulting13 “the Great Prophet of Islam” as well as “sowing corruption on earth”14 with the death penalty. The authorities frequently resort to these provisions in order to intimidate, arrest and prosecute individuals who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and 4 The new Islamic Penal Code was introduced in 2013 for an experimental period of five years and was revised in 2016. See the most updated version of the Islamic Penal Code here on the website of the Iranian parliament: 5 “Islamic Republic of Iran: Computer Crimes Law,” ARTICLE19, 2012.[4].pdf 6 The Islamic Penal Code available at: 7 Article 498 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 8 Article 500 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 9 Article 610 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 10 Article 639 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 11 Article 700 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 12 Article 262 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 13 Article 513 Islamic Penal Code 2013, 14 Article 286 Islamic Penal Code 2013 2

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