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
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .