New ISIS Penal Code Heavy on Death Penalties, Crucifixions


A document surfaced online this week and has been reportedly circulating in Raqqa, Syria, that alleges to be the official penal code of the Islamic State. The document, translated and confirmed to be from the terrorist group by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), lists eleven crimes and their punishments– seven of which are death.

MEMRI notes that the document appeared online through a website called the Jihadi Media Platform, and is titled “Clarification [regarding] the Hudud [Koranic punishments].” It cites the Koran and its demands to adhere to Sharia law, and issues punishments similar to those in the original Code of Hammurabi, and 18th century legal document that also prescribed amputation of arms for thieves and the death penalty for an array of violations. It is much shorter, however, though often equally as barbaric.

The code proscribes the death penalty for any insult to Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, or Islam generally, as well as for “spying for the infidel interests” and apostasy. In a subset called “Illegal sexual intercourse”– which presumably does not include rape or pedophilic violations— specific punishments are given depending on whether the offending party is married. Married offenders are killed by stoning; non-married offenders are given 100 lashes and exiled from the community for one year. Sodomy is its own category, which, of course, receives the death penalty.

The other major set of crimes involve theft. Simple theft results in the loss of a limb. “Highway robbery” is punishable by crucifixion, which is to say death.

Ironically, the code lists a punishment of exile for “terrorizing people.”

In addition to MEMRI’s confirmation, the website Vocativ notes that there have been many photos and videos of evidence that these punishments are, indeed, being carried out within Islamic State territories. For example, photos surfaced this month of a man being thrown off the roof of a building to his death for alleged sodomy. Images of a woman being stoned for “illegal sexual intercourse” also surfaced on Twitter this month:

The release of this document follows the wide distribution of a Frequently Asked Questions-style brochure on keeping female slaves, which allows a man who owns a woman exclusively to use her without consent for sexual activity– that is, to rape her– and notes clearly that pre-pubescent girls are available for sexual intercourse, but only if they are “fit.”


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