6 February 2008

Alert

President Karzai reassures delegation over fate of young journalist sentenced to death


Incident details

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh

journalist(s)

sentenced

This is available in:

English Français
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders welcomes the undertakings given on 6 February 2008 by President Hamid Karzai as regards Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, the young journalist who has been sentenced to death on a trumped-up charge of distributing information that insulted Islam. Karzai told a delegation of Afghan journalists that they had no reason to worry about him.

"We want to believe that President Karzai really is determined to find a rapid solution to this appalling affair," the press freedom organisation said. "The death sentence passed on Kambakhsh by a court in Mazar-i-Sharif is unworthy of Afghanistan, whose constitution protects free expression. We call for the case to be quickly transferred to Kabul and for the conviction to be quashed."

Reporters Without Borders added: "This new abuse of the blasphemy law should prompt the Afghan authorities to find a way to provide better protection for freedom of expression, one that will be effective even when subjects as sensitive as religion are involved."

The delegation from the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association that met President Karzai on 6 February in Kabul briefed him about the case and asked him to intervene. Rahimullah Samandar, a member of the delegation, told Reporters Without Borders that Karzai gave them hope that Kambakhsh would be freed soon.

On 5 February, a presidential spokesman spoke of Karzai's concern about the case but said the courts should do their work.

The kabulpress.org blog ( http://kabulpress.org) has posted a recent photo of Kambakhsh in Mazar-i-Sharif prison, where his family was able to visit him on 2 February. He is reported to be in good health but worried about what will happen to him.

Kambakhsh's brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, a journalist who is known for his articles about human rights abuses in the north of the country, is looking for a new lawyer in Kabul.

A court in Mazar-i-Sharif sentenced Kambakhsh to death on a charge of blasphemy on 22 January, at the end of a summary trial held behind closed doors. Reporters Without Borders has learned that the lawyer appointed by the family to defend him did not dare attend the trial for fear of reprisals.

A journalism student and reporter for the "Jahan-e Naw" ("New World") newspaper, Kambakhsh has been detained since 27 October.

Sign the petition: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=25199


Source

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
France
rsf (@) rsf.org
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51
Afghanistan

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from Afghanistan
 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region