Report Freely At Peril Of Dying Freely Say Afghans

The Islamic religious court which condemned Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, to death because he downloaded from the Internet a story that ofended clerics has now made clear that reporters who pursue the case run the risk of also suffering severe penalties. Balkh province deputy attorney general Hafizullah Khaliqyar said, “based on the crimes Perwiz Kambakhsh committed the primary court yeserday sentenced him to the most serious punishment which is the death penalty.” Khaliqyar threatend to arrest journalists who “support” the condemned man. “I will arrest any journalist trying to support him after this.” The “crime” consists of downloading a story which raised a question about the Muslim religion by suggesting that if males could have multiple wives, then why couldn’t females have multiple husbands?

Reporters Without Borders exressed being “deeply shocked by this trial, carried out in haste and without any concern for the law or for free expression, which is protected by the constitution.” During the American led invasion of Afghanistan President Bush sharply attcked the fanatic rule of Taliban clerics who throttled free speech. Six years later the same clerical attitudes are present in the supposedly “free Afghanistan.”