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TAKE ACTION! SAVE A REPORTER ON AFGHANISTAN'S DEATH ROW

Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh, a 23-year old journalism student from Afghanistan, was sentenced to death in January for blasphemy - in a trial held behind closed doors and without any lawyers defending him. Join the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and other concerned groups in demanding a fair and speedy determination of Kambakhsh's appeal, which has already been delayed twice.

IFJ's affiliates in Afghanistan, the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association (AIJA) and the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists (CPAJ), say the appeal hearing scheduled for 25 May was adjourned for a week on the grounds of Kambakhsh's poor health. According to his brother, outspoken journalist Yaqub Ibrahimi, Kambakhsh is exhausted from his prolonged detention in unsanitary conditions and from severe psychological stress he has endured since his arrest last October.

This followed an earlier adjournment on 18 May, on the grounds that a defence lawyer was not present for Kambakhsh.

"Obviously, to prolong the young journalist's detention on the grounds of ill-health, when his ill-health is itself a consequence of his prolonged detention, does not meet any standard of fairness," says IFJ.

Kambakhsh, a reporter for the newspaper "Jahan-e Naw" ("The New World"), 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.

Ibrahimi believes the charges against his brother were a pretext meant to stop him from his own investigative journalism - Ibrahimi came under attack before Kambakhsh's arrest for reports he had written criticising local officials and warlords.

Join IFJ's appeal and send a message to the authorities urging them to ensure a fast and fair determination of Kambakhsh's appeal: http://tinyurl.com/4f6t9p

Also send a message of support demanding Kambakhsh's immediate release on KabulPress.org: http://tinyurl.com/2pnthj

(27 May 2008)

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