Languages
Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 15:59 UK

Afghan journalist freed from jail

Mr Kambakhsh in the dock during the appeals hearing
Mr Kambakhsh is reported to have left Afghanistan

A journalist in Afghanistan who had a death sentence for blasphemy commuted to 20 years in prison has now been released, officials say.

Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh has been pardoned by President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan justice ministry confirmed.

Relatives of Mr Kambaksh said he had already left Afghanistan as he had been granted asylum by a European country.

In 2007, he was convicted of distributing material that questioned Islamic attitudes to women.

Media rights groups have welcomed the release of Mr Kambakhsh, which they say is the result of persistent lobbying.

"It is with considerable emotion that we welcome the release of Parwez Kambakhsh," the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said.

"It is critical that he now be allowed to rebuild his life after practically two years in detention," it said.

Conservative 'backlash'

But campaign groups say that he has had to leave the country because of the threat posed by some who wanted to see him hanged.

His brother works for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Afghanistan which also campaigned for his release.

Its director told the BBC that although Mr Kambakhsh was released two weeks ago, the news has only just come out, possibly because Mr Karzai feared a backlash from conservatives for pardoning him.

A court in Mr Kambakhsh's home city of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan condemned him to death in October 2007 for distributing the article.

Mr Kambakhsh said he had been tortured into making a confession and was not given a defence lawyer in his original trial.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Appeal to Karzai over blasphemy
16 Aug 09 |  Front page
Media groups decry Afghan ruling
22 Oct 08 |  South Asia
Afghan man spared death sentence
21 Oct 08 |  South Asia
Blasphemy case shows Afghan divide
09 Sep 08 |  South Asia
Afghan reporter shocked by trial
25 Feb 08 |  South Asia
Afghan senate's blasphemy retreat
31 Jan 08 |  South Asia
Afghanistan - Country profile
15 Mar 11 |  Country profiles


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific