Cyprus

Blasphemy with prison sentencesThough Cyprus has good protection of free expression in general, there is some religious privilege, and a de facto “blasphemy” law criminalises discussion of religion in very broad terms.

Although article 19 of the constitution states that “every person has the right to freedom of speech and expression in any form”, sections 141-142 of the Cypriot Criminal Code seem to contradict this guarantee by enacting a de facto blasphemy law in which it is an offence to essentially insult religions:

“Any person who with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, or makes any gestures in the sight of that person, or places any object in the sight of that person, is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

“…Any person who publishes a book or pamphlet or any article or letter in a newspaper or periodical which any class of persons consider as a public insult to their religion, with intent to vilify such religion or to shock or insult believers in such religion is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

— Articles 141 and 142, Cyprus Criminal Code