Afghan Student's 20 Year Sentence for Supporting Women's Rights Upheld by Supreme Court
Afghan student and journalist Parwez Kambakhsh's sentence of 20 years in prison for blasphemy after he circulated an article about women's rights under Islam was recently upheld by Afghanistan's Supreme Court. According to the Human Rights Watch, the court made the decision to uphold the sentence on February 11, 2009, but did not allow Kambakhsh's lawyer to defend his client and did not notify Kambakhsh or his lawyer of the decision.
Kambakhsh, 24, worked as a part-time newspaper journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif, had downloaded the article from the Internet, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Kambakhsh has said that he was tortured into giving a confession. He was originally sentenced to death for his "crime," but an Afghan appeals court reduced the penalty to jail time. Freedom-of-the-press advocates and human rights groups who have championed Kambakhsh's case remain appalled by the decision and will advocate for a pardon to be issued by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 10/23/08; Los Angeles Times 10/22/08; Human Rights Watch 3/10/09
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .