President Karzai Steps Into Journalist Case

The case of Parwiz Kambakhsh continues to create turmoil both in Afghanistan and outraged world opinion. A Balkh Province Court in a closed session had found the 23 year-old reporter guilty “for insulting Islam and misinterpretation of (the)Holy Koran” because he download an article which questioned why if Muslim males could have multiple wives why couldn’t Muslim females have multiple husbands. The provincial court decision was upheld by the Meshranu Jirga which also blasted “domestic and international organizations which are pressuring Afghanistan’s government” to void the decision. After intervention by President Karzai, Parliament’s Upper House rejected this statement and now says the case should be handled by the Supreme Court and that Kambakhsh has a right for representation by an attorney.

A demonstration in Kabul organized by the Hambastegi party witnessed hundreds of young men and women who insisted the reporter be freed and urged respect for freedom of the press. The Supreme Court has now assumed jurisdiction over the case whose review will take place in Kabul. A source told the Kabul Press President Karzai has asked Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi to find a solutiion for releasing Parwiz. It is also reported the Balkh court will be told to cease and desist from theatening journalists. The attorney for the Court, Khaliq had warned the press, “I will arrest all journalists who defend Parwiz Kambakhsh.”

American and NATO forces are fighting for the freedom of Afghanistan and its ability to be a democratic nation. Such incidents only confirm that George Bush’s strategy in Afghanistan is a complete failure. The arrest, conviction, and sentencing to death of a journalist who downloaded a story is a travesty of justice and raises questions as to exactly who triumphed in the campaign against the Taliban– democracy or the Taliban?