Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Young Afghan journalist sentenced to death for discussing the Koran

Note: I just received this sobering message...

"A bad news from Parwiz's brother.

Kamran Mir Hazar
Exiled Poet, Writer, Journalist and Web Master
Email: kamran_mirhazar@yahoo.com & Editor@kabulpress.org
Web: www.kabulpress.org & www.rahapen.org

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: yaqub ibrahimi
To: kamran Mir Hazar
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 6:16:50 PM
Subject: Parwez is sentenced to execution
Dear Kaamraan jaan, the fucking balkh primery court without inform anyone sentenced Parwez Kaambakhsh to execution,

The case of Parwiz Kambakhsh, a reporter for the local newspaper, “Jahan-e Now,” and a student at Balkh University, requires the urgent attention of journalists and activists for freedom of expression. Kambakhs was accused and has been unlawfully detained for three months for possessing an article, which discussed controversial verses of The Holy Quran regarding women’s rights.

We believe that the government of Afghanistan and his Excellency president Karzai has an important responsibility to secure free speech for journalists, especially in the area of religion, like the world’s leading democracies.
We pledge our support for and call on Mr. Karzai to work for the immediate release of Mr. Kambakhsh. He has strong support among those who care about freedom of speech and democracy, and they are distributing the facts of this case world-wide.

Show Your Support
Kabulpress.org asks you to show your support for Parwiz and free speech in Afghanistan by posting a comment below. Your comments will be automatically esending an e-mail to Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, his spokesperson. Include your name, occupation, country of residence, and a comment asking for the release of Parwiz Kambakhsh.

E-mail your support to president@afghanistangov.org and spokesperson@afghanistangov.org.


Bethany said...

Bob, isn't this issue more about women's rights than free speech? According to the article, the journalist was in possession of documents about the Quran and women's rights - he wasn't the author and he may not have been planning to publish them; he is a university student. The fact that he's a journalist seems kind of circumstantial. I think it's very patriarchal of you to trumpet this as being about journalism, (which is still done primarily by Afghan men), and not about women's rights - which is the heart of the issue. I'd also be willing to bet that if you could question the men who imprisoned him, they would say that this is more about the nature of the documents and less about journalism or free speech.

Robert Maier said...

You're partially correct, and your's is the position taken by elements of the Afghan government. However, many details of the case point to it being equally a free speech issue. Much of the censorship in Afghanistan has to do with suppression of women's rights, so it can be argued that women's rights always are supported in censorship cases. If you're suppressing documents about women's rights, you're suppressing free speech.