A man in Afghanistan is sentenced to death:
A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country’s rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after “liberation” and under the democratic rule of the West’s ally Hamid Karzai.
The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.
Mr Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter. But a complaint was made against him and he was arrested, tried by religious judges without – say his friends and family – being allowed legal representation and sentenced to death.
Kambaksh should be immediately freed, and the judge who passed this sentence sacked — or better still, put to death himself. But if, on the other hand, this sentence is carried out, then Britain needs to seriously look at what we are doing in Afghanistan: why should British troops risk their lives for such a barbaric government? If the people of Afghanistan want to live in the dark ages, I suppose that is their choice, but Britain should not spend blood and money helping them.