Afghan journalist appeals blasphemy conviction

May 18, 2008

Afghan journalist Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh/Family handoutThe blasphemy case against Afghan journalist Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, is back in the news. Kambakhsh appeared at an appeal hearing in Kabul on Sunday, pleaded innocent and was given a week to present his defence statement against the primary provincial court’s ruling and to find a defence lawyer. Our report from Kabul says he flatly denied charges he had insulted Islam and the Koran and had distributed an article which said Prophet Mohammad had ignored the rights of women.

It’s not clear if there is a connection but Reporters without Borders (RsF) issued a statement on Friday calling on Kabul to give Kambakhsh’s lawyer the case file so he could prepare his defence. “The case has not progressed since it was transferred to the Kabul court of justice,” RsF said in a statement. “We urge the authorities to speed up the procedure so that Kambakhsh’s appeal can receive a fair hearing, far from the influence of religious fundamentalists. This was not the case when he was tried and sentenced to death for blasphemy in Mazar-i-Sharif. We call on foreign governments to continue to intercede on Kambakhsh’s behalf.”

Kambakhsh was transferred from Mazar-i-Sharif to Kabul in late March and has been held in the city’s Pul-i-Charkhi prison since then.

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And the Bush administration claims it is bringing democracy and freedom to Afghanistan.

Posted by AlexLawyer | Report as abusive

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Reader…

The young man in this article was apparently sentenced to death for criticizing a religion and its teachings, and distributing an article saying that the religion’s founder had ignored the rights of women.

All I can say is heaven forbid…and so much for democracy in Islam! Islamic “democracy” is simply a pipe dream, i.e., an illusion, a fantasy. I for one have absolutely no illusions whatsoever when it comes to this.

Herein lies the dichotomy of NATO’s non-Muslim nation efforts and individual sacrifices of non-Muslim soldiers in Afghanistan…and the dichotomy of U.S. and non-Muslim coalition forces’ efforts and individual sacrifices of their soldiers in Iraq as well.

This is why religion has no place in government policy. The founding fathers and framers of “this Constitution for the United States of America” recognized that fact.

In other words, what in the world are we as a nation (founded on the principle of separation of church & state) doing propping up Muslim governments (“supposed” democracies) where a reporter can be imprisoned and sentenced to death for allegations of criticizing the founder of a religion who has been dead for close to 1,400 years?

Think about all of this for a moment, folks!

We need to find and punish Osama bin Laden for his horrendous crimes…and then get the heck out of SW Asia. We’ve got no business sending our young people to die or sacrifice their limbs, sight, hearing and mental & physical health to perpetuate a state religion that executes a person for speaking his or her mind!

I distinctly remember seeing a political cartoon that was going around during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. It showed a fictional member of the obscenely wealthy Saudi royal family addressing an American soldier who was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Saudi Arabia from Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

The cartoon’s caption said something like the following, “Just do the killing and get out.”

I think that just about sums it up. They don’t want us there, so what are we doing there?

Best Regards,
Oklahoma Jack

P.S. How quickly and easily it would be to forget that 3 of the most important corner stones of the foundation upon which our great nation was built are the 3 freedoms of speech, religion and the press. Inherent to the freedom of religion is that government stay as far away from it as possible, and vice versa…ergo, separation of church and state.

Extreme right-wing religious believers (I hesitate to call them thinkers) such as those presently found sprinkled throughout the highest levels of George W. Bush’s republican administration would have us think otherwise. Most of these people are self-righteous hypocrites who don’t even practice what they themselves preach!

This has proven itself to be true in several instances.

What I find sad about all of this, is that these fanatical hypocrites have millions of voters believing that they (the politicians) are in fact sincere about the beliefs of their followers. These office holders couldn’t care less about religious voters who believe the politicians’ “line”, and then cast their votes to put or keep said politicians in office.

If the walls at the White House could talk (like the Nixon/Kissinger/Graham tapes did), said misled voters would no doubt be shocked and embarrassed.

Posted by Oklahoma Jack | Report as abusive