AN AFGHANI JOURNALISM STUDENT has been sentenced to death by hanging for downloading documents about women’s rights.
Pervez Kambaksh, a 24 year-old journalism student at Balkh university, has proclaimed his innocence to a Kabul appeals court, after being found guilty of Blasphemy back in January.
The trial lasted just four minutes and heard Kamaksh confess. He wasn’t even allowed a lawyer. Kambaksh now says he had been tortured until he confessed to the charges being put against him.
The student reckons that a couple of his professors, as well as several students, made up the allegations, because they had something against him. The prosecution says that Kambaksh caused trouble in class by repeatedly asking about women’s rights in Islam, a subject that apparently riled his misogynistic classmates.
The prosecution also claimed that Kambaksh downloaded articles on the subject and passed them around, with his own commentary added on to the bottom, including one sentence which read: "This is the real face of Islam ... The prophet Mohammad wrote verses of the holy Koran just for his own benefit."
The student argued that this simply was not true and said, as Muslim, "I would never let myself write such an article. These accusations are nonsense.” He added, “I was tortured by the intelligence service in Balkh province and they made me confess that I wrote three paragraphs in this article."
Because extremists have promised to kill anyone who dares to represent the would be women’s rights campaigner, Kambaksh’s family are having an impossible time finding him a lawyer. He has been forced to represent himself, without great success. µ
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