October 22, 2008

Afghan journalism student faces life in prison

by David Masters

A journalism student in Afghanistan has had his death sentence reduced to 20 years in prison after his case was heard by the Afghan appeal court.

Twenty-four year old Afghan national, Sayed Perwez Kambashkh, was sentenced to death for allegedly downloading an article from the internet that questions the tenets of Islam.

The article, which questions Islam’s approach to woman’s rights, was deemed as an insult to the Muslim religion.

In addition to downloading the article, Kambashkh was accused of adding his own paragraphs to the end, saying that Mohammad wrote verses of the Qur’an for his own benefit only.

He then allegedly circulated the article among his fellow students.

Ever since the case was brought against him, Kambashkh has denied the charges.

Kambashkh’s lawyer said the ruling is an insult to the idea of justice and added that he plans to appeal the prison sentence in Afghanistan’s Supreme Court.

Women’s rights are becoming an increasingly focal issue in a country that is becoming more radically conservative with each day that passes.

The Taleban does not believe that women should have the right to work, and just last month Afghanistan’s highest ranking female police officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Malalai Kakar, was murdered by Taleban forces.

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