An Afghan journalism student, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, has been sentenced to death by the U.S. ally for downloading and distributing information on women’s rights under Islam. He was tried by a religious court and, according to his family, without legal representation. British newspaper The Independent has the story, and is campaigning for his release:
Sayed Pervez Kambaksh’s imminent execution is an affront to civilised values. It is not, however, a foregone conclusion. If enough international pressure is brought to bear on President Karzai’s government, his sentence may yet be overturned. Add your weight to the campaign by urging the Foreign Office to demand that his life be spared. Sign our e-petition at www.independent.co.uk/petition
The Afghan Senate initially upheld the sentence of the religious court, but after widespread international protest (like the petition above) has reversed its position, saying the earlier vote to kill the man was “a technical mistake.”
Not exactly a moment of political courage there, but an encouraging sign that Kambaksh may be freed, and an example of how rapid international condemnation can impact local politics.
With respect to the issue that started this trouble, we present this analysis of women’s rights in “liberated” Afghanistan. Short version: it’s not good.
After six years in control, this government has proved itself to be as bad as the Taliban – in fact, it is little more than a photocopy of the Taliban. The situation in Afghanistan is getting progressively worse – and not just for women, but for all Afghans.