Draconian Cybercrime Law to Lead to Further Suppression in Iraq

Iraq’s Parliament conducted the first reading of a controversial cybercrime draft law, sparking objections from campaigners who see it as a threat to freedom of expression.

The “Law on Information Technology Crimes” sparked widespread objections as it proposes heavy prison sentences and fines against journalists and online activists.

Iraqi MP Sarwa Abdul Wahid said the “draft law in its current form is rejected because it restricts freedoms” and needed to focus on dealing with blackmail and fake and suspicious websites instead.

For his part, the Iraqi activist Muhammad Alawiyya stressed that the draft law threatens the country’s democratic system as it can be used to silence peaceful dissent and media freedom, calling on political parties to prevent approving such laws.

Last Tuesday, the Iraqi Parliament conducted the first reading of a cybercrime draft law introduced by the Iraqi Minister of Communications, Hayam al-Yasiri.

The draft law will regulate social media platforms, which saw an unprecedented rise in electronic blackmail and abuse under the pretext of freedom of expression, the minister said.

In our turn, we stress that the draft law would threaten freedom of expression and give Iraqi authorities excessive powers to impose harsh sentences, and we call on the Iraqi Parliament to take into account public freedoms before approving the bill.

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