IFJ deplores delay in deciding Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh’s appeal against death sentence

IFJ Media Release: Afghanistan May 26, 2008

The International Federation of Journalists is deeply concerned and disturbed by the further delay in deciding the journalist Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh’s appeal against a death sentence for the alleged crime of “blasphemy”.

The IFJ has been informed by associates in Afghanistan, the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) and the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists (CPAJ) that the hearing scheduled for Sunday, May 25, was adjourned on the grounds of Kambakhsh’s illness. This followed an earlier adjournment on May 18, on the grounds that a defence lawyer was not present for Kambakhsh.

Kambakhsh’s brother, the journalist Yaqub Ibrahimi has informed the IFJ that the reason for his ill health is his prolonged detention in highly unsanitary conditions and the severe psychological stress he has been under since his arrest in October 2007 and his conviction in January.

“We urge the judicial authorities in Afghanistan to do the fair thing by Kambakhsh, in the light of the strong free speech guarantees in the national constitution”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific: “Obviously, to prolong the young journalist’s detention on the grounds of ill-health, when his ill-health is itself a consequence of his prolonged detention, does not meet any standard of fairness”.

The IFJ urges the President of Afghanistan, His Excellency Mr Hamid Karzai, to intervene in the matter and ensure a fair and speedy determination of Kambakhsh’s appeal.

IFJ affiliates are encouraged to write to Mr Hameed Nasry Wardak, the spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs at hameednasry@yahoo.com, or call him at +93 700 989696

Mr Humayun Hamidzada, the spokesperson for President Karzai, can also be reached at bafir.ayoubi@gmail.com and at +93 797 163 355. His deputy Mr Siyamak Heraway can be reached at + 93 700 282 508 or + 93 799 234 576

The IFJ would also encourage all its affiliates and other professional media associations to send messages of solidarity to Yaqub Ibrahimi, at yaqub.ibrahimi@gmail.com.

Ibrahimi can also be contacted on his mobile phone number: +93 798 008 807.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries

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