A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Afghan Journalism Student to be Executed

From the CBC:


An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam.

The three-judge panel sentenced Sayad Parwez Kambaksh to death for distributing a paper that humiliated Islam, said Fazel Wahab, the chief judge in the northern province of Balkh.

Wahab, who did not preside over the trial, said he didn't know anything about the paper other than that it was against Islam.

Kambaksh discussed the paper with his teacher and classmates at Balkh University. Several students complained to the government.

Kambaksh's family and the head of a journalists' group denounced the verdict and said Kambaksh was not represented by a lawyer at trial.

Members of a clerics' council had been pushing for Kambaksh to be punished.

The case now goes to the first of two appeal courts. Kambaksh, who has been jailed since October, will remain in custody during appeal.

Kambaksh's brother, Yacoubi Brahimi, described Tuesday's proceeding as a "secret trial," saying the family did not know it had been scheduled.

Wahab said only President Hamid Karzai can pardon Kambaksh because he had confessed to violating the tenets of Islam.


If you're like me, you support the mission in Afghanistan because you believe that it is a just mission with the worthwhile purpose of bringing freedom and democracy to a people who have for too long known only oppression and violence. That radical clerics can still have you arrested and sentenced to death by local afghan government authorities for printing materials deemed 'offensive' to Islam is upsetting at best; That 78 of our brave soldiers have died fighting so that sort of thing would never again happen is nothing more than a slap in the face to every Canadian. We've tried to do our best so that Afghanis can enjoy their newfound freedom, but they have to do their share to promote freedom from religious tyranny or it is certain that their experiment in democracy will fail.

I urge you to e-mail your local MP, the offices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense and any other officials you wish to contact about this student's situation. Hopefully if word gets out to the appropriate government officials, they can pressure the Afghan government to take action to save this young man's life. Please make the effort to do so!

Below is a list of contact information for various government ministers, for your convenience.

The Hon. Stephen Harper

Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
EMail: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

The Hon Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice.

Telephone: (613) 995-1547
Fax: (613) 992-7910
EMail: Nicholson.R@parl.gc.ca


The Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Defense

Telephone: (613) 992-6022
Fax: (613) 992-2337
EMail: MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Telephone: (613) 992-8053
Fax: (613) 995-0687
EMail: BerniM@parl.gc.ca

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