An Afghanistan court has sparked an international furor over its decision to imprison a magazine editor who published articles allegedly offensive to Islam.
In early October, an adviser to President Hamid Karzai filed a complaint against Ali Mohaqiq Nasab. He was arrested and brought before a court, which quickly convicted and sentenced him to two years in prison.
The charges against Nasab were based on articles in Haquq-e Zan (which translates as “Women’s Rights”). According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the stories were critical of some religion-based punishments, such as the death penalty for adultery and stoning for those who choose another religion.
The court’s action drew criticism from public interest groups, as well as the United Nations. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group, called for Nasab to be released. The director of the Afghan Protection of Journalists Committee also derided the court, saying that Mohaqiq “is being hounded by the clerics who oppose his moderate views.”
The president’s adviser who complained about Mohaqiq’s work told AFP that while the country believed in the freedom of speech, there were limits.
“Under the name of freedom of speech, one cannot slander God, or prophets or influentials,” said Ghulam Mohaidin Baluch.