Thursday, January 31, 2008

Afghan Journalist Receives Death Sentence for Downloading Info on Women's Rights

23 year old Afghan journalist Sayed Pervez Kambaksh faces execution for downloading a report from a Farsi website that stated Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women misrepresent the views of the prophet Mohamed. Mr Kambaksh distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of stimulating a debate on the matter.The upper house of the Afghan legislature issued a statement approving of Kambash's conviction on blasphemy charges and the death sentence.

Mr Kambaksh's brother Yacoub said that the journalist was very concerned about his future and said he had not had a fair trial or any lawyer to defend him.

This situation is absolutely outrageous! The Afghan constitution supposedly protects the freedom of expression. Article 34 states:

"Freedom of expression shall be inviolable. Every Afghan shall have the right to express thoughts through speech, writing, illustrations as well as other means in accordance with provisions of this constitution. Every Afghan shall have the right, according to provisions of law, to print and publish on subjects without prior submission to state authorities. "

How, then, can the authorities defend the persecution of Mr. Kambaksh?

The U.S., Britain, and other Western countries who are spending billions of dollars to prop up Afghanistan should put major pressure on Hamid Karzai to pardon Mr. Kambaksh and reign in the Islamofascist judiciary...

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