Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One bit of good news

This is from a couple of weeks ago but I only found out about it yesterday and I wanted to mention it 'cause I could use a bit of good news to post.

Nearly a year ago I wrote something about the case of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh. He was a journalism student at Balkh University in Afghanistan who was arrested in October 2007 and charged with blasphemy on the grounds that he asked questions in class about the rights of women under Islam and supposedly distributed an article on the subject which he got off the internet.

He was initially sentenced to death, which was later reduced to the supposedly lenient 20 years in prison.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported that he's free.
Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh has been pardoned by President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan justice ministry confirmed.

Relatives of Mr Kambaksh said he had already left Afghanistan as he had been granted asylum by a European country. ...

"It is with considerable emotion that we welcome the release of Parwez Kambakhsh," the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said. ...

But campaign groups say that he has had to leave the country because of the threat posed by some who wanted to see him hanged.
It appears that news of his release was delayed due to fears of a backlash - not, to be clear, from the Taliban but from "our" side.

Gotta love that democracy-building.

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