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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Editor is arrested in Afghanistan
By Sebastian Usher
BBC World media correspondent

Afghan girls make their way through the streets of Kabul
Many Afghan women's lives have changed since the Taleban fell
The editor of a women's rights magazine in Afghanistan has been arrested after publishing articles deemed blasphemous.

Charges were filed against Ali Mohaqiq Nasab after a complaint by a religious advisor to President Hamid Karzai.

Mr Nasab's magazine had questioned the harsh punishments for adultery and theft demanded by the most conservative interpretation of Islamic law.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned his arrest, noting "deteriorating" press freedoms.

While local law bans comments deemed insulting to Islam, further legislation stipulates that journalists can only be arrested after a government-appointed media commission has studied their case.

This process appears not to have been followed in the case of Mr Nasab, whose monthly magazine Hoqooq-i-Zan - Women's Rights - has appeared since the fall of the hardline Taleban.

Under pressure

An influential religious adviser to President Karzai is reported to have taken exception to one of the articles published in the magazine and passed it on to the country's Supreme Court as potentially blasphemous.

We are disturbed by this arrest, which reflects a recent pattern of deteriorating press freedom conditions in Afghanistan
CPJ executive director, Ann Cooper

Mr Nasab was then arrested.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for his immediate release and has expressed its concern about what it sees as a "pattern of deteriorating press freedom conditions in Afghanistan".

Despite a flood of new privately-owned newspapers and radio and television stations since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, journalists in Afghanistan still face a variety of pressures from the government, local warlords and the religious authorities.

The Supreme Court itself has made clear its opposition to material in the press or on television that it regards as un-Islamic.

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