Afghanistan’s Supreme Court has upheld a 20-year prison term for Parwiz Kambakhsh, 24, a university student journalist accused of “blasphemy” for writing an article advocating greater rights for women under Islam. The student’s family and lawyers said this week that they had learned only recently about the court decision, which was made in secret on Feb. 12.
The decision came to light only when the national prosecutor’s office issued orders to the northern province of Balkh to enforce the ruling, said Afzal Nooristani, a defense lawyer for Kambakhsh. “I was not allowed to talk with the judges and officials, which is a complete violation of law,” he said. (IHT, March 12)