News Cycle

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Afghanistan Journalist, Sentenced to Death for Downloading an Article, Set Free

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Reporters sans frontieres is reporting today that Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, a journalist who was sentenced to death and then to 20 years in prison for downloading an article about the rights of women in Islam, was secretly pardoned in Afghanistan and released several weeks ago.

He has left the country for fear of reprisals.

“We hail Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh’s release with deep emotion,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “After being held for nearly two years, he now needs to be able to rebuild his life. We pay tribute to all the free speech activists in Afghanistan and abroad who never stopped defending his innocence and pressing for his release.”

Julliard added: “This case will be remembered as miscarriage of justice marked by religious intolerance, police mistreatment and incompetence on the part of certain judges. The authorities must now ensure that article 130 of the Afghan constitution, defining blasphemy, is no longer used to bring politically-motivated charges and to suppress free expression.”

Kambakhsh’s lawyer confirmed to Reporters Without Borders today that his client was released several weeks ago after President Hamid Karzai secretly signed a pardon.

Many foreign governments had interceded with the Afghan authorities on behalf of Kambakhsh, while the London-based Independent newspaper gathered more than 100,000 signatures to a petition for his release. Reporters Without Borders also handed in a petition with several thousand names to a presidential adviser in Kabul.

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Written by newscycle

September 7, 2009 at 10:25 pm

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