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JOURNALIST SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BLASPHEMY

A young journalist from Afghanistan has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, report Reporters Without Borders and local news sources.

Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh, a 23-year-old journalism student and reporter for the newspaper "Jahan-e Naw ("The New World"), was given the death sentence on 22 January in a trial held behind closed doors and without any lawyers defending him, RSF says.

Kambakhsh was arrested in October 2007 for distributing what officials say was anti-Islamic literature. He gave friends an article that said the Prophet Mohammed ignored women's rights. He was also accused of possessing anti-Islamic books and starting un-Islamic debates in class.

Kambakhsh's brother, prominent journalist Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, works for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and has recently come under attack for reports he had written criticising local officials and warlords. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), IWPR and Afghan sources say they fear that the charges against Kambakhsh were a pretext meant to stop his brother from reporting.

Join an international appeal and send a message demanding Kambakhsh's immediate release on KabulPress.org: http://tinyurl.com/2pnthj

For more info on the case, visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=25154
- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/2vr8sj
(22 January 2008)

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