Journalist’s Death Sentence Sought In Afghanistan

Religious leaders are rallying around a death sentence placed on a journalist in Afghanistan for allegedly blaspheming Islam.

The Associated Press reported in early February that more than 100 tribal and religious leaders gathered in the capital of the eastern province of Paktia to demand that the national government support the execution of a 23-year-old who was accused of disseminating an article from the Internet questioning polygamy.

Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh was sentenced to death in late January by a three-judge panel in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. He was convicted pursuant to anti-blasphemy laws.

“Kaambakhsh made the Afghan people very upset,” said Khaliq Daad, leader of the Islamic council of Paktia. “It was against the clerics and Islam. He has humiliated Islam. We want the Afghan president to support the court’s decision.”

A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai told the AP that although the government was concerned about the decree, it would not intervene until the courts have final say.