Friday, February 01, 2008

Afghani Sentenced to Death

What was Sayed Pervez Kambaksh's crime? He shared a report he downloaded from the Internet which contended that "Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed."

I'm not about to suggest that things aren't any better under Karzai's rule than they were under the Taliban, but on this matter, there doesn't seem to be much difference. Karzai can still pardon Kambaksh, but given that a key ally of his proposed a ruling in Parliament that condemned Kambaksh, I don't expect it to happen without significant international pressure. As the article notes, the UK is attempting to do just that.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything about the U.S. doing anything on Kambaksh's behalf, and while I'd like to believe the government is doing something, I'm not optimistic. For Bush to acknowledge that there's a problem with freedom in Afghanistan would serve as too sharp a contrast with what he said in his State of the Union address:
In Afghanistan, America, our 25 NATO allies, and 15 partner nations are helping the Afghan people defend their freedom and rebuild their country. Thanks to the courage of these military and civilian personnel, a nation that was once a safe haven for al Qaeda is now a young democracy where boys and girls are going to school, new roads and hospitals are being built, and people are looking to the future with new hope.
With that context, I'm not optimistic about Kambaksh's fate.