Afghan journalism student sentenced to death for blasphemy

By RJI on January 24, 2008 0 Comments

by CCJ

An Afghan journalism student has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in a case media groups say is more about intimidating his journalist brother than defending Islam.

CNN, quoting members of the group Reporters Without Borders, reports that Sayed Perwiz Kaambaksh, 23, was tried behind closed doors and without representation in Mazar-e-Sharif on Tuesday. The charges of distributing anti-Islamic propaganda were based on a document that Kaambaksh downloaded from the Internet last October and shared with students at Balkh University in Mazar-e-Sharif where he is a journalism student, CNN says.

The day after Kaambaksh was arrested authorities paid a visit to his brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, and combed through his computer and notebooks looking for names of sources who helped him in his reporting, Jean Mackenzie, country director of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, told CNN.

Ibrahimi is one of the leading independent journalists in the region and has written numerous stories that detail human rights abuses, she said. "This is why we think this is tied to (Ibrahimi)," she said.

Full story here and here.