Afghan Sentenced to Death for Reading about Women’s Rights

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THE INDEPENDENT- A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country’s rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after “liberation” and under the democratic rule of the West’s ally Hamid Karzai.

The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

Mr Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter. But a complaint was made against him and he was arrested, tried by religious judges without – say his friends and family – being allowed legal representation and sentenced to death.

The Independent is launching a campaign today to secure justice for Mr Kambaksh. The UN, human rights groups, journalists’ organisations and Western diplomats have urged Mr Karzai’s government to intervene and free him. But the Afghan Senate passed a motion yesterday confirming the death sentence.

The MP who proposed the ruling condemning Mr Kambaksh was Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, a key ally of Mr Karzai. The Senate also attacked the international community for putting pressure on the Afghan government and urged Mr Karzai not to be influenced by outside un-Islamic views.

The case of Mr Kambaksh, who also worked a s reporter for the Jahan-i-Naw (New World) newspaper, is seen in Afghanistan as yet another chapter in the escalation in the confrontation between Afghanistan and the West.

Continue reading about the Afghan Sentenced to Death for Spreading Information.

How you can save Pervez

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh’s imminent execution is an affront to civilised values. It is not, however, a foregone conclusion. If enough international pressure is brought to bear on President Karzai’s government, his sentence may yet be overturned. Add your weight to the campaign by urging the Foreign Office to demand that his life be spared. Sign our e-petition at www.independent.co.uk/petition

© COPYRIGHT THE INDEPENDENT, 2008

One thought on “Afghan Sentenced to Death for Reading about Women’s Rights

  1. This petition aestts the government should intercede on behalf of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh to prove that the government respects human rights and freedom of expression. Where do they get the idea that a state with a democratically created constitutional clause expressly stating sharia trumps all law – respects ‘human rights and freedom of expression”?Sayed is a honorary distinction carried by direct decendants of the Prophet Muhammad. He is muslim, as proven in this letter written on his behalf by CPJ:As a good muslim, he must accept sharia law. Our soldiers liberated Afghanistan from Taliban oppression only to have this newly liberated population democratically establish their own oppressive, sharia compliant regime, thanks to George “Islam-is-a-religion-of peace” Bush. Until we come to our senses and accept the fact that there is no such thing as a moderate islam,and finally ban sharia – we simply aid and abet this heinous activity.As much as things change, they stay the same. For instance, read this famous quote from : “Considered as a nation, they are deplorably wretched, because they have no property in the soil to inspire an ambition to cultivate it. They are abject slaves to the despotism of their government, and they are humiliated by tyranny, the worst of all tyrannies, the despotism of priestcraft. They live in more solemn fear of the frowns of a bigot who has been dead and rotten above a thousand years, than of the living despot whose frown would cost them their lives… The ignorance, superstitious tradition and civil and religious tyranny, which depress the human mind here, exclude improvement of every kind…” – William Eaton, US Consul to Tunis, 1799My compassion ends at the threshold of Islam. Anyone, of any age or sex, who holds Muhammad as his Prophet, uswa hasana al insan al kamil, – and all that stands for – is not worth my time, consideration or effort. I will not sign this petition out of utter contempt for sharia.




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