Student faces death penalty in Afghanistan

This decision is taken in an Afghanistan not ruled by the Taliban, but six years after the ‘liberation’, ruled by the west’s democratic ally, Hamid Karzai. At a gathering in Takhar province, Maulavi Ghulam Rabbani Rahmani, the heads of the Ulema council, said: “We want the government and the courts to execute the court verdict on Kambaksh as soon as possible.” In Parwan province, another senior cleric, Maulavi Muhammad Asif, said: “This decision is for disrespecting the holy Koran and the government should enforce the decision before it came under more pressure from foreigners.”

The Foreign Office and Dfid are said to be particularly concerned about such draconian measures being taken against a journalist and a student. The country has slipped further into the control of fundamentalists and warlords and this sentencing is in the wake of Mr Karzai accusing the British of actually worsening the situation in Helmand province by their actions and his subsequent blocking of the appointment of Lord Ashdown as the UN envoy and expelling a British and an Irish diplomat. Mr Karzai has been urged by his Senate not to be influenced by outside non-Islamic views. The circumstances surrounding the conviction of Mr Kambaksh are also being viewed as a further attempt to claw back the rights gained by women since the overthrow of the Taliban. The most prominent female MP, Malalai Joya, has been suspended after criticising her male colleagues.

Interestingly, Jean MacKenzie, country director for Institute for War and Peace Reporting, said: “We feel very strongly that this is designed to put pressure on Pervez’s brother, Yaqub, who has done some of the hardest-hitting pieces outlining abuses by some very powerful commanders.”

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