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Indonesia: Jakarta Governor Issues Regulations on Demonstrations

(Nov. 6, 2015) On October 28, 2015, the Governor of the Jakarta Special Capital Region, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, issued a local regulation governing the freedom of expression in public places. (Peraturan Gubernur Provinsi Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta Nomor 228 Tahun 2015 Tentang Pengendalian Pelaksanaan Penyampaian Pendapat di Muka Umum pada Ruang Terbuka (Oct. 28, 2015), […]

Egypt: Prison Sentence for Posting a Mocking Image of the President on Facebook

(Oct. 22, 2015) On October 10, 2015, Amr Nohan, a 23-year-old man serving in the army, was sentenced by a military court to three years of imprisonment for posting on his personal Facebook page a picture of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi with Mickey Mouse ears. Human rights activists showed their opposition to the military court […]

Pakistan: Federal Government Plans to Introduce Legislation Prohibiting Apostasy Pronouncements

(Sept. 21, 2015)  According to a September 10, 2015, news report, the Federal Government of Pakistan is considering legislation to prohibit takfir, a religious pronouncement or clerical ruling that declares one Muslim or group of Muslims to be non-believers or apostates.  A government official was reported to have stated, “[u]nder new laws, no one will […]

Indonesia: Proposal to Resurrect Law Against Insulting President

(Aug. 14, 2015) Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has recently proposed reviving a provision that criminalizes insulting the president. The provision was in effect during the regime of Suharto, whose dictatorial rule lasted from 1967 to 1998, and punished public insults to the president with prison terms of up to five years. It was repealed by […]

United Arab Emirates: New Law Banning Discrimination

(July 22, 2015) On July 20, 2015, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnic identity. The law also bans discrimination on the grounds of caste, doctrine, color, or race. (Steven Wildberger, UAE Issues Religious Tolerance Law, PAPER CHASE (July 21, 2015).) The Attorney-General of the […]

Iceland: Blasphemy Law Repealed

(July 15, 2015) On July 2, 2015, the Icelandic Parliament voted to repeal the country’s blasphemy legislation. (821 Frumvarp, Heligi Hrafn Gunanrson, Althingi [Parliament] website (last visited July 15, 2015).) The crime of blasphemy had been on the books since 1940; the relevant legal provision stated: “[a]nyone officially ridiculing or insulting the dogmas or worship […]

New Zealand: Legislation Aimed at Preventing and Punishing Cyberbullying Passed

(July 6, 2015) On June 30, 2015, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Harmful Digital Communications Bill. (Harmful Digital Communications Bill Passes, PARLIAMENT TODAY (June 30, 2015); Harmful Digital Communications Bill, New Zealand Parliament website (last visited July 6, 2015).) The legislation, which was originally introduced in November 2013, will establish complaint mechanisms for victims […]

Tanzania: Cybercrimes Bill Enacted

(June 15, 2015) It was reported recently that Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has signed into law the Cyber Crimes Bill, 2015. (Kikwete Signs Cybercrime Bill, PESA TIMES (May. 9, 2015).) As indicated in its “Objectives and Reasons” section, the legislation makes provision for “offences related to computer systems and Information Communication Technologies [as well as] […]

Egypt: Court Sentences TV Show Host to Five Years of Imprisonment

(June 4, 2015) On May 31, 2015, an Egyptian court of first instance found television show host Islam El-Beheiry guilty of insulting the religion of Islam under article 98(f) of the Penal Code. Article 98(f) provides that confinement for a period of not less than six months and not exceeding five years or a fine […]

Egypt: State Litigation Authority Rejects Request to Suspend a TV Show

(May 22, 2015) On May 19, 2015, Egypt’s State Litigation Authority rejected a petition submitted by Al Azhar (the main religious institution in Egypt) to suspend a television program. The petition accused the show’s host of deliberately criticizing religious symbols and influencing Muslims to doubt their beliefs. (A Memo of the State Litigation Authority Rejects […]