Editor of Afghan Women's Rights Magazine Convicted
Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the male editor of a women's rights magazine in Afghanistan, has been sentenced to two years in jail by for criticizing punishments doled out because of interpretations of Sharia (Islamic) law. Nasab was convicted by the Primary Court in Kabul for blasphemy resulting from two articles published in the magazine critical of these severe punishments, including 100 lashes for adultery and death by stoning for conversion to another religion, reported the Associated Press. The case will automatically be appealed.
According to the New York Times, before the sentencing was agreed to, there was a “strenuous battle” between conservative judges on the Supreme Court and the more liberal Minister of Information and Culture, Sayed Makhdum Raheen. The prosecutor had initially called for the death penalty. Nasab, who was reportedly arrested at the urging of Mohaiuddin Baluch, a religious advisor to President Hamid Karzai, is the first journalist convicted for blasphemy by a Kabul court since the fall of the Taliban regime.
“This is damaging to the development of democracy and women’s rights in Afghanistan,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Success of the impending appeal is of paramount importance.”
The Feminist Majority is calling on women’s rights supporters in the United States to email Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky to aid the appeal seeking reversal of the decision imprisoning Ali Mohaqiq Nasab and to urge the global community to join them in their efforts.
Media Resources: The New York Times, 10/24/05; Associated Press, 10/24/05; Feminist Daily News Wire, 10/11/05, 10/14/05
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. . . .