Similar in many ways to laws being put forth in Jordan, the Iraqi parliament is actively debating passing a new cyber crime bill into law aimed at cracking down on religious and political extremism online. However, as Amnesty International is now warning, as written, the proposed laws could begin criminalizing acts that would otherwise fall under freedom of expression, freedom of the press and free speech in general. Official called the “Law On Informational Technology,” the new law will give Iraqi authorities excessive powers to impose harsh sentences, including life imprisonment, for vaguely worded offences such as undermining the country’s “independence, peace and political, military security and economic interests.”
According to Razaw Salihy, Iraq researcher at Amnesty International, “if passed, this draconian cybercrime law will be a devastating blow for freedom of expression in Iraq,” because “the vague and overly broad wording of the law means it could easily become a tool for repression in a country where the space for critical voices is already severely restricted.” As a result, Amnesty International and 9 other human rights and technical organizations such as Access Now, Human Rights Watch, International Press Institute, Iraq Journalists Right Defence Association (IJRDA), Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM), Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR), MENA Rights Group, PEN International and PEN Iraq have each singed an open letter to the Iraqi Parliament asking them to abandon the law before it moves ahead any further.
Read or Download Full Open Letter: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1499442019ENGLISH.pdf
Full Text – Law on Information Technology Crimes:القراءة-الاولى-لقانون-جرائم-المعلوماتية
Copy of Open Letter 03/01/2019:Amnesty_Open_Letter