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Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights

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UK 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 û 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 û say his friends and family û being allowed legal representation and sentenced to death.



"The procedure of this trial and charges against Kambakhsh are in no way different from the trials and inquisitions of Dark Ages period (under the Taliban)," the Solidarity party, made up young Afghans, said in a statement.

Kambakhsh was sentenced by a court last week for allegedly mocking Islam and the Koran, and for distributing an article which said Prophet Mohammad had ignored the rights of women.

Afghanistan's upper house of parliament said on Wednesday it backed the death sentence against Kambakhsh.


"The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free, and proud, and fighting terror - and America is honored to be their friend."

- George W. Bush

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