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
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .