Acting Special Representative Bo Asplund on Afghan journalist Sayed Parwez Kambaksh
24 January 2008 - UNAMA is concerned about developments in the case against Sayed Parwez Kambaksh, a journalist who this week was sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court in Mazar.
Cases involving religion and freedom of expression occur in many countries and require care and sensitivity in their handling. The pressures for punishment, warnings to journalists, as well as the holding of this case in closed session without Mr. Kamabaksh having legal representation point to possible misuse of the judicial process. This would not serve the cause of justice.
Afghanistan's Constitution commits it to upholding Islamic and universal human rights values, which are clearly compatible. We urge a proper and complete review of this case as it goes through the appeals process.