Afghanistan: UPDATE: Karzai intervenes in the case of Parwiz Kambakhsh

Afghanistan’s Upper House of Parliament rejected a previous statement released by its president, that supported the young journalist’s death sentence for possessing an article questioning women’s role in Islam.
The statement also said that Parwiz’s case should be handled by the Supreme Court, and that he had the constitutional right for representation by an attorney.
A demonstration in support of Parwiz was held today in Kabul. About 200-300 young women and men showed up waving photos of Parwiz. They asked Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, for the immediate release of Parwiz, and also asked the government to respect freedom of press. The Hambastegi party planned the demonstration.

Parwiz’s brother Yaqub told Kabulpress today that he had asked the Supreme Court of Afghanistan to transfer the case from the northern province of Balkh to Kabul. The Court accepted and sent a letter to the Balkh court which asked them to stop the proceedings there. Next week the case will be moved to Kabul.

A Kabulpress source, very close to the Karzai administration, who asked not to be identified, said that President Karzai had asked Supreme Court Chief Justice, Abdul Salam Azimi, to find a solution for releasing Parwiz.

The source added: It was also mentioned that Afghanistan’s Attorney General Jabbar Sabit should tell the Balkh attorney Khaliq to cease all threats against journalists. Khaliq is the attorney who held a press conference and warned, “I will arrest all journalists who defend Parwiz Kambakhsh.”

31 January 2008