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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reporter Sentenced To Death For Protecting Muslim Women

In Islamic dominated countries Women's rights are compromised by a section in the Koran, Sura 4:34, that has been interpreted to say that men have "pre-eminence" over women or that they are "overseers" of women. The verse goes on to say that the husband of an insubordinate wife should first admonish her, then leave her to sleep alone and finally beat her. Wife beating is so prevalent in the Muslim world that social workers who assist battered women in Egypt, for example, spend much of their time trying to convince victims that their husbands' violent acts are unacceptable.
An Afgan Reporter Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, wrote about the role of women in Islamic society focusing their lack of rights. He was sentenced to death two days ago.


An Afghani journalist has been sentenced to death for writing an article on women's rights, which was construed as offensive to Islam.

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, from the northern Balkh province, was detained last October on charges of blasphemy and defaming Islam.

He allegedly wrote articles on the role of women in Muslim society and quoted verses in the Quran about women. The family said the articles were not authored by the journalist. They said he took them off the Internet and distributed them.

The sentence is being condemned by freedom of the press organizations. Kambakhsh's family said the trial took place in secret and the journalist had no lawyer defending him.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was "appalled" by the death sentence meted out on Tuesday.

"That a journalist should face execution is an utter disgrace to any democratic nation," the organization said. It called on Afghan President Hamid Karazai to press for his immediate release.

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting says it was possible Kambakhsh was being punished to pressure his brother also a journalist, who has written extensively about alleged abuses by powerful commanders of armed groups.

Reporters Without Borders said the death ruling on Kambakhsh reflects the growing influence of fundamentalist Islam on intellectual debate. The blasphemy charges, it said, were a tool used by the authorities to restrict press freedom.

Dr. Hussein Yasa, editor-in-chief of an independent English daily in Afghanistan, told The Media Line that Afghani journalists are facing pressures and intimidation, especially in the north of the country.

"Talking or writing about religious issues is very difficult in Afghanistan," he said.

However, Yasa stressed that the situation is better now than under the Taliban, who would burn archives and hang television sets from trees.

"We did not have the concept of free journalism that exists now in Afghanistan. The concept of free media in Afghanistan only started after the fall of the Taliban in early 2002," he said.

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