Student Sentenced to Death for Downloading Women's Rights Article Freed
Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who was originally sentenced to death in Afghanistan for distributing information regarding the role of women in Islam in October 2007 is now free. Afghan President Hamid Karzai secretly pardoned Kambaksh, who was moved from a Kabul prison two weeks ago before being flown out of the country to an undisclosed location, reported the Independent UK. According to Reporters Without Borders, Kambaksh left the country due to fear of reprisals.
Kambaksh, a student who also worked as a part-time newspaper journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif, had downloaded an article on the rights of women in Islam from the internet and was convicted of "distributing blasphemous material." He allegedly tortured while in prison and eventually received a reduced sentence of 20 years in prison, which was upheld by the Afghan Supreme Court.
Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, Kambaksh's brother, told the Independent UK, "we are all very happy that so much progress has been made with Pervez and I want to thank all the people who have helped in this. I have to be careful about what I say but, of course, Pervez should never have been put in that position, it was wrong. The family is very glad he is out."
Freedom-of-the-press advocates and human rights groups, including the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), have continuously championed Kambakhsh's case and petitioned President Karzai for a presidential pardon in the case.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 1/24/08, 6/2/08, 10/23/08; Independent UK 9/7/09, 9/8/09; Reporters Without Borders 9/7/09
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .