Afghan journalist sentenced to 20 years in jail for blasphemy

Other News Materials 21 October 2008 20:41 (UTC +04:00)

Afghanistan's appeals court sentenced on Tuesday an Afghan journalist to 20 years in prison for blasphemy, a crime punishable by death in Islamic law, reported dpa.

The ruling overturned a death sentence handed earlier to Perwiz Kambakhsh by primary court in northern Afghanistan for distributing articles downloaded from the internet which questioned the rights of women under Islam.

Kambakhsh, 24, who was a student in the journalism school in northern city of Mazar-i-Sharrif, and worked there as reporter for Jahan-e-Naw (New world) daily, was arrested in October 2007 by security personnel on charges of blasphemy.

Prosecutors accused Kambakhsh of disrupting classes by frequently asking questions about women's rights and distributing printed articles which had been downloaded from an Iranian site that criticized women's rights under Islam.

"Today the appeal court sentenced Perwiz Kambakhsh to 20 years in jail for violating tenets of Islam," judge Abdul Salam Qazizada told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

He however said that Kambakhksh had the right to appeal to country's supreme court if he did not accept the decision.

Under Afghanistan's constitution, in which Islamic law is stipulated, blasphemy is punishable by death.