Afghan Justice: Government Sentences Journalist to Death for Blasphemy Against the Prophet

After the loss of many American lives and billions in American dollars, the justice system in Afghanistan seems to be de-evolving back into the Taliban-style Islamic extremism. Journalist Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, has been sentenced to death for merely downloading material deemed blasphemous to Islam relating to the role of women in Islamic societies. Not only has the U.S.-backed government sentenced him to death, one of its top “justice” officials has threatened to severely punish any reporter even expressing support for Kambakhsh.

Afghanistan is being called a victory by the Bush Administration over the Taliban, but it is increasingly clear that we defeated the Taliban by incorporating their supporters and rigid Islamic values in the “new” government.Kambakhsh was a student at Balkh University and a journalist for Jahan-e Naw (New World). He was arrested in October 2007 after downloading the material. He was denied an attorney and tried in secret.

Reporters without Borders said Kambakhsh was not even the author of the controversial article commenting on verses in the Koran about women.

In what is equally shocking, Balkh province’s deputy attorney general, Hafizullah Khaliqyar, promised harsh treatment against anyone supporting Kambakhsh. In statement that denies a host of basic human rights, the deputy stated: “Journalists are supporting Kambakhsh. I will arrest any journalist trying to support him after this.”The prosecution appears to be a not-so-subtle attack on his brother Yaqub Ibrahimi, who has been writing about abuses committed by officials in Balkh. Notably, officials searched Ibrahimi’s computer for names of contacts.

Afghanistan’s legal system is based on Sharia law derived from the Koran. Under Article 118 of the new constitution, lawyers and judges are supposed to have “a higher education in law or Islamic jurisprudence” and “sufficient expertise and experience in the judicial system of Afghanistan.” Yet, it is clear that Islamic law reigns supreme and many of the judges carry out Taliban-like justice.In March 2006, an Afghan court sentenced Abdul Rahman to death for converting to Christianity. He later fled the country.

Thus, we have this bizarre situation where U.S. troops are supplying security for government where extreme religious courts deny free speech, free exercise of religion, and basic press freedoms.

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4 thoughts on “Afghan Justice: Government Sentences Journalist to Death for Blasphemy Against the Prophet”

  1. That was my thought too. Obviously, anyone who thought we (the U.S.) was supposedly producing a stable, non-radical government was sadly mistaken. Personally, I don’t think Bush — or anyone in his cabinet — really cares a whit about these gross injustices and callous executions by islamic extremists. As long as HE isn’t directly affected, he just ignores it. His so-called “state of the union” address last night was nothing more than a rehash of the empty statements and promises he’s made before.

  2. With both wars now approaching $1.4 trillion and over 4000 deaths, I thought we wanted to produce a stable, non-radical government. Otherwise, why didn’t we just leave after overthrowing the government? From the outset, Bush has stated that we were nation-building and converting a radical government into a stable democracy.

  3. From the beginning of time, a country’s traditions and customs have always trumped its laws. Even if the laws are changed to provide freedoms of speech or religion, it probably wouldn’t make a huge difference. The reason why U.S. forces are there is to assist Afghanistan’s government in getting rid of Bin Laden and his cohorts, and not to interfere with its internal affairs.

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