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Iraq Interim Constitution Signed

The Iraq Interim Constitution was signed Monday.

It's good. It's not fantastic, but it is good — in fact it's better than I had hoped for. Emphasis added:

The people of Iraq, striving to reclaim their freedom, which was usurped by the previous tyrannical regime, rejecting violence and coercion in all their forms, and particularly when used as instruments of governance, have determined that they shall hereafter remain a free people governed under the rule of law.

Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation. No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets of Islam, the principles of democracy, or the rights cited in Chapter Two of this Law may be enacted during the transitional period. This Law respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice.

All Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to gender, sect, opinion, belief, nationality, religion, or origin, and they are equal before the law. Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his life or liberty, except in accordance with legal procedures. All are equal before the courts.

Each Iraqi has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religious belief and practice. Coercion in such matters shall be prohibited.

The most wrenching paragraph is Article 15(J), made necessary by a wound which will take a long time to heal:

Torture in all its forms, physical or mental, shall be prohibited under all circumstances, as shall be cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. No confession made under compulsion, torture, or threat thereof shall be relied upon or admitted into evidence for any reason in any proceeding, whether criminal or otherwise.

Watch the Iraqi blogs over the next week or so, for their commentary about the interim constitution — it's much more important than anything I could say about it. Zeyad maintains a list of Iraqi blogs on his blogroll. (Warning: Hammorabi has some extremely graphic photographs from last week's terrorist attack in Karbala. Don't scroll down too far unless you're prepared for it.)

UPDATE 2004-03-11 07:02:25 UTC: Steven Den Beste has posted his thoughts and they are, as usual, a must-read.

Tiny Island