The Afghan Association Blog Writers (Afghan Penlog), a community established by a group of Afghan activist bloggers, has expressed deep concern for a young journalist Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh who was condemned to death by a local court.
He has been a reporter for Jahan-e Naw (New World) weekly and a student of journalism at Balkh University.
According to Afghan Penlog and international media, Parwez Kambakhsh was detained by the authorities on October 27, 2007 for downloading and distributing an article that he found on an Iranian weblog to friends. It spoke of women's rights, the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed. A local court in northern Afghanistan in Mazar-e Sharif has convicted him to death for the alleged blasphemy.
Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders say the trial was “carried out in haste and without any concern for the law or for free expression, which is protected by the constitution.”
Index on Censorship says :
Deeply conservative Afghan clerics, most of whom have never used a computer or the Internet, believe Kambakhsh himself wrote the article and therefore found him guilty of blasphemy. Because there is no clear punishment for downloading “un-Islamic” articles from the Internet, the primary court of appeal asked clerics to comment. The conservative clerics, who had not investigated the case, demanded the death penalty.
Journalist's brother may have been target
According to CNN, many believe that Kambakhsh was actually arrested for articles his brother wrote that criticized provincial authorities. The brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, has written numerous stories that detail human rights.
Afghan PenLog issued a statement yesterday that accused Afghan authorities of attempting to escape from the issue: “… the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture has released a letter this afternoon that says Parwiz Kambakh was not a journalist and his case has nothing to do with the media.” Afghan Penlog is deeply concerned, and demands the immediate release of Parwiz Kambakhsh.