Saturday, February 02, 2008

This is the government our troops are fighting and dying for

A 23-year-old student journalist in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death for downloading and distributing a report that is critical of the oppressive treatment of women in some Islamic societies.

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh (at right), who is a journalism student at Balkh University and a writer for Jahan-e Naw, was sentenced last October after downloading a report from a Farsi website that criticized Islamic fundamentalists who misrepresent statements in the Koran to justify the oppression of women. Kambaksh was arrested after someone filed a complaint against him. He is accused of blasphemy for distributing the report to other students and teachers at his school.

He was tried by a sharia court (which oversees Islamic religious law) and was not allowed legal representation, according to news reports. The Afghan Senate passed a motion this week supporting the sentence, according to the British newspaper The Independent.

The next Conservative MP who insinuates that Afghan war opponents don't care about protecting women's rights should be publically bombarded with copies of this story. The latest update is that the Afghan Senate has withdrawn their support for the death penalty in the face of international outcry. How many similar cases are happening without worldwide scrutiny?

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