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Update on Parwiz Kambakhsh case

Wednesday 23 January 2008

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More information has recently been obtained byKabulpress.org regarding the case of Afghan Journalist, Parwiz Kambakhsh, who has been jailed by local authorities in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif for three months. Parwiz, a student and journalist, was sentenced to death yesterday by a local court for allegedly writing news articles defaming the Holy Koran.

Describing yesterday’s court proceeding, Yaqub, Parwiz’s brother, sent this statement from Parwiz:

“They brought me to a closed room around 4 PM. There were only 3 judges and an attorney, when I wanted to say something they didn’t allow. They had prepared a letter that I wrote on it I do not accept. On another paper they provided me is sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Havizullah Khaliq, an attorney in Balkh province held a press conference regarding Parwiz’s case. He threatened, “I will arrest all journalists who are defending Parwiz Kambakhsh.”

The governor of Balkh province, Atta Mohammand Noor held his own press conference where he claimed “we have peace and democracy in northern Afghanistan… journalists are free to write anything here.” When asked about Parwiz’s case, he answered “the arrest and detainment of Parwiz is according to law. We have to respect it and have to wait for the court’s decision.”

However, according to Afghan mass-media law, the Media Commission is responsible for following these types of cases.

This morning, the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture released a statement that said Parwiz’s case is not an issue freedom of the press. It added that the death sentence decision was made by a lower court, and is not final.

International appeal to support the immediate release of a young Afghan Journalist

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