Home / / Iraq cyber crime law threatens free speech says HRW

Iraq cyber crime law threatens free speech says HRW

Pressure group warns new law could mean life imprisonment for speaking against government

Iraq cyber crime law threatens free speech says HRW
The new Information Crimes Law is not properly defined, contravenes international law and has draconian penalties, says HRW.

Pressure group Human Rights Watch is warning that Iraq's proposed law on cyber crimes violates international law and would seriously curtail journalists, whistleblowers, and peaceful activists.

The draft law, which is due for a second reading by Iraq's Council of Representatives, would allow life imprisonment and a large fine for "intentionally" using computer devices and an information network to undermine the country's "supreme economic, political, military, or security interests," which are not defined.

HRW says that the law would allow Iraqi authorities to harshly punish expression they decide constitutes a threat to governmental, social, or religious interests.

"This bill would give Iraqi authorities yet another tool to suppress dissent, especially on the Internet, which Iraqi journalists and activists increasingly turn to for information and open debate," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Council of Representatives should reject laws that would undermine the freedoms enshrined in Iraq's 2005 constitution."

The law would also allow life imprisonment for involvement with a "hostile entity for the purpose of upsetting security and public order or endangering the country," which HRW says could be used as the basis for prosecuting anyone involved in an organization, movement, or political party that the government deems "hostile" because of the group's criticism of the government or its policies.

Follow us to get the most comprehensive IT Security news delivered fresh from our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and listen to our Weekly Podcast. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter on curated technology news in the Middle East and Worldwide.

REGISTER NOW | Webinar Event | Security you can bank on – Safeguarding the Middle East’s financial sector

Presented in partnership with security and network specialist Cybereason, the second in the three part webinar series will bring together a panel of experts to discuss how banks and financial institutions are evolving their service offering while simultaneously staying one step ahead of the cyber criminals who seek to bring their operations crashing to the ground.

CHANNEL AWARD 2018