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Watchdog appeals to Kabul over 'blasphemous' reporter

There's renewed international concern for Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh, a young Afghan journalist sentenced to death for blasphemy. The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders is urging the Afghan government to cooperate with the lawyer of Kambakhsh, who remains jailed in Kabul awaiting an appeal hearing, Radio Free Europe / Radoi Liberty (RFE/RL) has reported.

Nearly two months have passed since Kambakhsh was transferred to the Afghan capital from a jail in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. Yet the young journalism student -- who was sentenced to death at a summary trial in October for allegedly distributing information insulting to Islam -- is still languishing in a Kabul prison with no fixed date for his appeals hearing.

This week, Reporters Without Borders, the international press-freedom watchdog, once again raised its voice, appealing to the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to cooperate with Kambakhsh's lawyer.

Kevin Olivier, who works on Asian issues for the organization in Paris, says the lawyer still has not received the file for the case from the Afghan authorities, which is preventing him from preparing the appeal.

"The case has not progressed since it was transferred to the Kabul court of justice," Olivier says. "We urge the authorities to speed up the procedure so that Kambakhsh's appeal can receive a fair hearing, far from the influence of religious fundamentalists."

Date posted: May 17, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 435