AFPA Calls For Intervention In The Case of Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh

The Afghanistan Foreign Press Association expresses its condemnation, deep concern, and continuing interest in the case of the death sentence passed against Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh, a journalist for the daily Janan-e-Naw by the primary court of Balkh province. We join the other Afghan national and international journalist associations and human rights groups who have demanded that the sentence be immediately overturned by President Hamid Karzai in the interests of freedom of expression, due process of law, and elementary justice.
Everything about this case from the fact that Mr. Kambakhsh was not the original author of the article he is said to have distributed to the secret nature of the judicial proceedings without representation to the unbelievably harsh sentence cry out that a gross miscarriage of justice has occurred. The case calls into serious question the progress that has been made in restoring Afghanistan to a nation that is guided by the rule of law.

Although it must be recognized that Afghanistan is a land with venerable religious and cultural traditions which have been desecrated by war and which have come into tension with aspects of modernity, there is no venue better suited to healing these wounds and mediating these tensions through creative dialouge than a free press. The disruption of the workings of the media by violence is the last thing that a nation which still faces so many challenges needs. Alas, this has happened all to often in recent years on the part of terroristic and criminal elements. Juster behavior is expected from lawfully constituted authorities.

We call on our members and journalists everywhere to provide full and deep coverage of this case, and repeat our call for President Karzai and all relevant Afghan and international authorities to act immediately to secure the life, liberty, and freedom of expression of Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh.

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