Afghan Journalist Sentenced to Death On "Blasphemy" Charges

People close to the case say Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh did not write the article but that the courts prosecuted Kambakhsh in order to punish his brother.

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, whose brother had written articles critical of local authorities, was sentenced to death by an Afghan court. (Courtesy Photo- RFE-RL)

A 23 year-old Afghan journalist was sentenced to death for downloading material relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.
The BBC reported:

An Afghan journalist has been sentenced to death by a provincial court for distributing “blasphemous” material.
Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was arrested in 2007 after downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.

A primary court in Balkh province said that Kambakhsh had confessed to blasphemy and had to be punished.

The court also threatened to arrest any reporters who protested against Kambakhsh’s sentence.

Kambakhsh, a student at Balkh University and a journalist for Jahan-e Naw (New World), was arrested in October 2007 after material he downloaded was deemed to be offensive to Islam.

Kambakhsh was arrested in October for an article written on verses in the Koran that were about women.
RFE-RL reported:

Family members denounced the verdict, saying the January 22 trial in Mazar-e Sharif was held behind closed doors and they did not even know the hearing had been scheduled.

Kambakhsh’s brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that the verdict was “unjust” and his brother did not have a lawyer defending him at the hearing.

“I told [my brother], ‘Don’t worry about this. It is not the final decision of the Afghan courts,'” Ibrahimi said. “But, anyway, every member of our family is concerned about it. We are sorry to see this unjust decision by the Balkh court.”

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, a journalism student at Balk University who also worked for the newspaper “Jahan-e-Naw” (“The New World”), was arrested in late October over a controversial article that commented on verses in the Koran that were about women.

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