The Afghan Association Blog Writers (Afghan Penlog), a community established by a group of Afghan activist bloggers, has expressed deep concern for a young journalist Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh who was condemned to death by a local court.
He has been a reporter for Jahan-e Naw (New World) weekly and a student of journalism at Balkh University.
According to Afghan Penlog and international media, Parwez Kambakhsh was detained by the authorities on October 27, 2007 for downloading and distributing an article that he found on an Iranian weblog to friends. It spoke of women's rights, the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed. A local court in northern Afghanistan in Mazar-e Sharif has convicted him to death for the alleged blasphemy.
Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders say the trial was “carried out in haste and without any concern for the law or for free expression, which is protected by the constitution.”
Index on Censorship says :
Deeply conservative Afghan clerics, most of whom have never used a computer or the Internet, believe Kambakhsh himself wrote the article and therefore found him guilty of blasphemy. Because there is no clear punishment for downloading “un-Islamic” articles from the Internet, the primary court of appeal asked clerics to comment. The conservative clerics, who had not investigated the case, demanded the death penalty.
Journalist's brother may have been target
According to CNN, many believe that Kambakhsh was actually arrested for articles his brother wrote that criticized provincial authorities. The brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, has written numerous stories that detail human rights.
Afghan PenLog issued a statement yesterday that accused Afghan authorities of attempting to escape from the issue: “… the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture has released a letter this afternoon that says Parwiz Kambakh was not a journalist and his case has nothing to do with the media.” Afghan Penlog is deeply concerned, and demands the immediate release of Parwiz Kambakhsh.
Dear Afghan Ministry of Information,
My name is Grace Mulei from Kenya. It is with deep concern to learn about the mistake arrest of Parwiz Kambakh.
But the world appreciates your comments in your letter that has been released this afternoon.
We also appreciate the Afghan PenLog concern, as I personally pray for justice for this youth who has great future, and room for repentance.
Hope the court will find favour for Parwiz!
His release would serve as a lesson to other young people.
Very sorry about this!
this is extremely sad and disturbing. may the international community respond to this.
thank you for posting.
Afganistan is making progress, but still to adapt to their extremities, though. Applying freedom of speech and apreciating differences do not come in a single night, as old idealism die hard.
How can there still be places where trials are not held fairly? The people in a position to act are doing nothing – so how can people like us do something about it?