Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Here we go again. In the new Afghanistan a college student, Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh (pictured here), has been sentenced to die for passing around a paper he got off the Internet that some say "humiliated" Islam.

The trial was held behind closed doors and without any lawyer defending him. His brother, fellow journalist Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, told Reporters Without Borders: "I saw my brother leave the court. He was very anxious. All the family was, too."

Prior to the court's ruling the Council of Mullahs had said Kambakhsh should be sentenced to death. The court was listening.

It isn't the end of the world to have your religion subject to criticism or even humiliated. It happens to all religions everywhere, thank god, and too often the clerics and clergy get bent all out of shape.

Usually you don't get sentenced to death, but...

Rhimullah Samandar, the head of the Kabul-based National Journalists Union of Afghanistan, said twenty-three year old student had been sentenced to death under Article 130 of the Afghan constitution. That article says that if no law exists regarding an issue, a court's decision should be in accord with Hanafi jurisprudence. Hanafi is an orthodox school of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence followed in southern and central Asia.

Samandar called for Afghan President Karzai to intervene.

"We completely condemn this trial," Samandar said. "It goes against the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press."

Reporters Without Borders said, "The calls for the death penalty for Kambakhsh highlight the growing influence of fundamentalist groups on intellectual debated. The blasphemy charges are an ill-disguised attempt to hide the desire of the local authorities to restrict press freedom."

At a news conference yesterday, Hafizullah Khaliqyar, the deputy provincial prosecutor in charge of the case, threatened to imprison all journalists who support Kambakhsh, adding that "Kambakhsh has confessed to the crime and must be punished."

Meanwhile, about 600 children under five die every day in Afghanistan due to pneumonia, poor nutrition, diarrhoea and other preventable diseases, according to the State of the World's Children 2008 report released by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 22 January.

Entitled Child Survival, the UNICEF report ranks Afghanistan as having the third highest infant mortality rate, after Sierra Leone and Angola. The country is ranked second in the world in terms of its maternal mortality rate with about 1,600 deaths per every 100,000 live births.

The following is from Canoe (Canada).

Afghan journalism student sentenced to death for paper 'against Islam'
By Amir Shah

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam.

The three-judge panel sentenced Sayad Parwez Kambaksh to death for distributing a paper that humiliated Islam, said Fazel Wahab, the chief judge in the northern province of Balkh.

Wahab did not preside over the trial.

Kambaksh's family and the head of a journalists group denounced the verdict and said Kambaksh was not represented by a lawyer at trial. Members of a clerics council had been pushing for Kambaksh to be punished.

The case now goes to the first of two appeals courts. Kambaksh, who has been jailed since October, will remain in custody during appeal.

Wahab said he didn't have the details of the paper that Kambaksh circulated, other than that it was against Islam.

Kambaksh discussed the paper with his teacher and classmates at Balkh University. Several students complained to the government.

Kambaksh's brother, Yacoubi Brahimi, described Tuesday's proceeding as a "secret trial," saying the family did not know it had been scheduled.

Some have accused Kambaksh of writing the paper in question, but Brahimi said that his brother had simply printed it off the Internet.

Wahab said only President Hamid Karzai can forgive Kambaksh because he had confessed to violating the tenets of Islam.


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Oread Daily said...

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