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Afghan Supreme Court secretly sentences young journalist to 20 years in prison for "blasphemy"

Parwiz Kambakhsh’s family discovers decision one month after the fact
Robert Maier
Sunday 8 March 2009

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All the versions of this article: [English] [فارسى]

This letter, from Yaqub, brother of Parwiz Kambakhsh, was received by Kabulpress today:

Unfortunately, one month ago the Supreme Court of Afghanistan confirmed a twenty-year prison sentence for Afghan Journalist Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh. The Court did not inform either the public or the press of this dubious action.

It was confirmed behind closed doors without the presence of Kambakhsh, his lawyer, members of his family, members of international human rights organizations, observers from the U.S. government, which is pouring billions of dollars and tens of thousands of American soldiers into Afghanistan, or members of the public or media.

Kambakhsh has never experienced a jury of his peers. His trials for blasphemy have all been held in secret. We, Parwiz’s family, just found out about this sentence today. There was no difference between this Supreme Court trial and the unjust four-minute Mazar provincial trail, where Parwiz was sentenced to death.

We thought a bit of justice could be found in the capital of Afghanistan; in the highest level of the Judiciary. Even President Karzai assured the world that justice would be carried out. However this secret decision shows that there is no justice in Afghanistan— at any level. An examination of this case shows that there are no grounds in international law to keep Kambakhsh in prison.

This is the tragic level of justice in Afghanistan today. It is just a make-believe system of justice and humanitarianism. The reality is that the Afghan government and judiciary, although supported by the U.S., the U.N., the E.U., and other democracies worldwide is morally bankrupt.

The Afghan government is a culture of corruption and cronyism; they give only lip service to human rights, democracy, and freedom of speech only to enhance their political aims. Their words are not backed by their actions. <left3575|center>

This is the everyday tragedy of Afghanistan, and now Parwiz Kambakhsh is a confirmed victim.

Regards,

Yaqub (journalist, and brother of Parwiz Kambakhsh)

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