Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh’s Death Sentence Commuted to 20 Years

by Joshua Foust on 10/21/2008 · 3 comments

Cross-posted to Global Voices Advocacy.

At least it’s not death:

An Afghan appeals court overturned a death sentence Tuesday for a journalism student accused of blasphemy for asking questions in class about women’s rights under Islam. But the judges still sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

The case against 24-year-old Parwez Kambakhsh, whose brother has angered Afghan warlords with his own writing, has come to symbolize Afghanistan’s slide toward an ultraconservative view on religious and individual freedoms.

At least one witness claimed he was intimidated into falsely testifying against Kambakhsh at his first trial in January. Right now, Kambakhsh, 24, is slated to spend 20 years in the infamous Pul-i Charkhi prison for the crime of “questioning Islam.”

The Pul-i Charkhi prison, just east of Kabul. Google Map here

Kambakhsh’s case was covered previously by both Global Voices and Global Voices Advocacy.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Tim Marshall. London October 22, 2008 at 3:39 am
Mister Ghost October 23, 2008 at 2:07 am

It’s completely insane. Screw cultural relativism. It’s a question of whether you want a modern nation partaking of the 21st century or still clinging to 7th century principles. What does it say, when the Afghani women had more rights and freedom under Soviet occupation, than they do today?

Hopefully, there’s the typical Afghanistan prison breakout and Kambakhsh is smuggle out of the country.

Afghan View October 31, 2008 at 3:30 pm

The sad part in this is that people in the west are exploiting problems in the Afghan Justice System, they put the blame on the religious ( and other times on cultural) practices. In this case, the goal of some people is to draw attention and show the world that Islam is in conflict with a person’s rights; thus, people blame the religion for all the problems in the country. They spend their money and energy on one person when there are thousands dying in Afghanistan as result of warlordism(now funded by the west), lack of food (what part of aid goes directly to the people and what goes back to the west), health care (naming an hospital after yourself does not mean you have done a great thing, they need supplies and more), justice and etc. Why? Because they believe this would be a negative image for the religion.

Other countries should not influence decisions or get involved with Afghan affairs, the west is not sincerely building the institutions. Afghans know what is good for them and what works for them, work with us (being against us will lead to failure).

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