Newswatch | Newswatch

You are here

Afghan journalist granted appeal against death sentence

Let him go: A female member of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan holds a picture of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh during a demonstration against his death sentence outside the United Nations office in Kabul on Jan. 31, 2008.Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP via Bloomberg News

A young Afghan journalist, sentenced to death in January for spreading feminist criticism of Islam, has been granted an appeal, according to one of the international organizations monitoring his case, Bloomberg News has reported.

Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, 23, was transferred on March 28 from prison in the remote province of Balkh, in northern Afghanistan, to capital Kabul, according to Jean MacKenzie, programme director in Afghanistan for the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).

The move, Mackenzie said in a telephone interview, was accompanied by promises from officials in the government of President Hamid Karzai that Kambakhsh would be freed.

Some details:

MacKenzie credited international protests in the wake of the death sentence as a key factor in getting Kambakhsh out of the control of regional religious and secular authorities. She also said that within Afghanistan, protests in several cities organized by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), a banned group, had made local citizens aware of the case.

"There is a belief that the charges were trumped up as a political move,'' MacKenzie said. She added that Kambakhsh and his brother, also a journalist, had been outspoken about the rise of warlords in the north and the breakdown of centralized government authority. The transfer to Kabul effectively removed Kambakhsh from local jurisdiction.

"Privately, sources in the government have assured the family that Parwez will be released, but the family are not yet certain of that,'' MacKenzie said.

Kambakhsh, a journalism student at Balkh University and correspondent for Jahan-e-Naw (The New World), a local daily newspaper in the Balkh city of Mazar-i-Sharif, was arrested Oct. 27, 2007. The National Directorate of Security charged him with downloading and distributing anti-Islamic propaganda, according to the Institute and reports from other organizations reporting on the case.

Date posted: April 16, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 725