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New Pakistan law sets death penalty for cyberterrorism crimes

[JURIST] Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari [official profile] on Thursday promulgated the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance [text] which allows certain acts of "cyber terrorism" to be punishable by death. The ordinance covers a variety of cyber crimes, including unauthorized data access, malicious code, unsolicited mass mailings, and fraud. It focuses on acts of terrorism caused by a person or organization with terroristic intent that accesses computer or electronic systems and "knowingly engages in or attempts to engage in a terroristic act." Such acts include altering electronic information that leads to injury, transmission, or attempted transmission of a malicious program to a government or public entity, aiding in the commission of acts of violence, and stealing or copying classified data necessary to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. According to the ordinance, these criminal offenses that cause the "death of any person shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life." Reuters has more. APP has local coverage.

In 2006 the US adopted and ratified the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime [text; JURIST report] which, among other goals, aimed to combat terror networks. Earlier this year Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called for the abolition of the death penalty in Pakistan [JURIST report] due to the country's high number of executions and executable offenses and the lack of adequate counsel.

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