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Afghan reporter on death row will plead for pardon

A young Afghan journalist sentenced to death in northern Afghanistan on charges of blasphemy has been moved to Kabul ahead of an appeal due soon, Agence France-Presse (AFP) has reported.

A primary provincial court in the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif sentenced 23-year-old journalist Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh to death in January in a case that has attracted worldwide condemnation. He had no legal representation. Kambakhsh was moved to Kabul on Friday, said Afghan Independent Journalists Association president Rahimullah Samander. “The next trial will be soon,” he said, without being able to say when.

Paris-based media protection group Reporters Without Borders welcomed the transfer of the reporter and university journalism student saying in a statement he had been held with “criminals and terrorists” in Mazar-i-Sharif. “His transfer to Kabul has given rise to hopes that his appeal will not be influenced by religious fundamentalists, as was the case when he was sentenced to death...,” it said.

Kambakhsh was held for three months before his trial, which reportedly only lasted minutes. Media groups inside and outside the country have asked President Hamid Karzai to intervene. The reporter was in good health and would be represented at his next trial by lawyers from the International Legal Foundation, an Afghan body backed by international organisations, Samander said.

Date posted: March 30, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 463