Pres ratifies hate crime bill

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has Sunday ratified the Fifth Amendment to the Penal Code. The Bill was passed by the Parliament at the 39th sitting, on 16th November 2021.

The amendment bill includes the addition of article 124 subsequent to article 123 to the Penal Code.

The article criminalizes the portraying people as non belivers or as anti-islamic based on views expressed on religious matters in which religious scholars have conflicts or opposing views. It also dissuades the labelling of a muslim as anti-islamic unless the person publicly proclaims to be a non believer, comes out as a non believer or deliberately commits an act of kufr. The amendment further prohibits the committing any acts of violence and the incitement of violence against such an individual.

In addition, the amendment criminalizes any acts of violence and the incitement of violence towards individuals based on their ethnicity, birth country, political ideology or religion. However, the bill also stipulates that it has no reservations on delivering the verdicts of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. The amendment also determines the degree of severity of such offenses.

The amendment also adds two more clauses subsequent to article 617(a)4. Article 617(a)5 of the amendment which prohibits the use of any language or acts of tauheen in public against the religion of islam, the Almighty Allah, the Holy Quran, the Prophet and Sunnah, either through a communication device or by any other means.

Following ratification, the Bill has been published in the Government Gazette. The amendment will come into effect from Sunday.