Male Journalism Student Facing Death in Afghanistan

I came across this disturbing bit of news about the deteriorating situation for women in Afghanistan.

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 article, AFGHAN JOURNALISM STUDENT SENTENCED TO DEAT FOR READING ABOUT WOMEN'S RIGHTS by Kim Sengupta, originally appeared in the Independant, which is launching a campaign to save Sengupta from death.

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 that stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

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 Kambaksh. The United Nations, human rights groups, journalists' organizations and Western diplomats have urged Karzai's government to intervene and free him. But the Afghan Senate passed a motion yesterday confirming the death sentence

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