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Afghan journalist and champion of women’s rights arrested in Iran

Ali Mohaqiq Nasab arrested in Qom, Iran
Robert Maier
Monday 10 March 2008

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Afghan journalist, and editor, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, aged 52 has been arrested in Qom, Iran. No further information is available regarding the charges, or Nasab’s condition. However, Mohaqiq Nasab is a noted Shiite sympathizer who promotes women’s rights, and a more liberal interpretation of Islamic law.

Mohaqiq Nasab, editor and founder of the monthly publication Haqoq-e-Zan (Women’s Rights) was sentenced by a Kabul court in October, 2005 to two years in prison, following a trial on blasphemy charges. He had already spent several weeks in prison. These past charges stemmed from his re-printing articles by an Iranian scholar that criticized the stoning of Muslims who convert to another religion, and those accused of committing adultery. A high court in Kabul reduced the sentence to three months and three days, which were suspended, despite demands for the death penalty by certain Muslim clerics.

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  • One would hope that Afghanistan government take steps to defend the rights of one of its citizens specially an enlightened figure as Mohaqiq Nasab. Our government fell well short of even a symbolic gesture in protecting a citizen for the least purpose of earning some badly-needed respect for own and honour for its people.

    Unfortunately the Ministry of Culture and Information as responsible authority for assertion of its citizens’ intellectual dignity is too busy on dignifying and imposing a tribal identity to the whole population to a cost of weakening their mellenia old identity of urban civilisation with unique richness in ancient science, literature, language and humanity. So is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pro-Iranian-mullas stand even to the extent of shying away from pursuing its fellow citizen’s and own’s honour.

    I wonder why other numerous foreign scholars who visit Iran do not get the same treatment. Certainly among them there are academics and journalist who may not believe in the god Iranians do, not have faith in Quran or believe in a different interpretation. Why Iranian government do not and cannot arrest a British or American for personal beliefs? What has embolden Iranians to extend the requirements of their law on personal beliefs to an Afghan? Is it the certainty that no one will enquire and protest?

    I wish we had the luxury of having a government which could answer the above questions and defend this fellow citizen’s rights for his supposedly Islamic but more reasonably interpreted personal beliefs.

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