Tina K. Russell

October 25, 2008

Progress in the weakest sense

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 12:50 am

Freedom is on the march, huh? Nice to know that Afghanistan is such a staunch ally in the fight for freedom and justice. By that I mean… okay, they’re an enormous letdown.

No Death Sentence for Afghan Journalist – NYTimes.com
KABUL, Afghanistan — An appeals court sentenced a young Afghan journalist to 20 years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday, overturning a death sentence ordered by a provincial court but raising further concerns of judicial propriety in the case.

The defendant, Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was a journalism student in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and worked for a daily newspaper there. He was arrested last October and accused of printing and distributing an article from the Internet about Islam and women’s rights, on which he had written some comments about the Prophet Muhammad’s failings on that issue.

While insults to Muhammad are anathema in Afghanistan, the decisions by both the lower court and the appeals court shocked many of Mr. Kambakhsh’s supporters and outraged international journalism organizations, which suggested that neither of the trials had been fair. The defendant’s brother, also a journalist, said the proceedings had been prompted by his own critical writings about local militia and political leaders.

That’s right! Twenty years for criticizing the Prophet Muhammad. Or, twenty years for having a brother who criticized local media and politicians. I’m not sure which is worse.

It should be noted here that Muhammad was a man who invited criticism and stood up for women’s rights. I’ll get letters, but it’s true.

Mr. Kambakhsh’s defense lawyer said he would appeal to the Supreme Court, and he called on President Hamid Karzai for help.

“We request the president of Afghanistan to intervene and to not let the corruption in the judicial system violate the rights of Afghan citizens,” said the lawyer, Mohammad Afzal Nuristani.

’Cause if they don’t, support for Afghanistan among Americans will become timid, at best.

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