Democracy On The March Update.
From the BBC (thanks to PRCS):
The upper house of the Afghan parliament has supported a death sentence issued against a journalist for blasphemy in northern Afghanistan.
Pervez Kambaksh, 23, was convicted last week of downloading and distributing an article insulting Islam. He has denied the charge.
The UN has criticised the sentence and said the journalist did not have legal representation during the case.
The Afghan government has said that the sentence was not final.
A government spokesman said recently that the case would be handled “very carefully”.
Now the Afghan Senate has issued a statement on the case – it was not voted on but was signed by its leader, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, an ally of President Hamid Karzai.
It said the upper house approved the death sentence conferred on Mr Kambaksh by a city court in Mazar-e-Sharif.
It also strongly criticised what it called those institutions and foreign sources which, it said, had tried to pressurise the country’s government and judiciary as they pursued people like Mr Kambaksh.
Some governments and international organisations have called for the sentence to be overturned.
A legal expert, Wadeer Safi, told the BBC that parliament was not constitutionally allowed to intervene in a case in the way the Senate had done, and he was concerned the new statement might prejudice the independence of the judges.
Mr Kambaksh’s brother, Yacoub Kambaksh, told the BBC that the journalist was very concerned about his future and said he had not had a fair trial or any lawyer to defend him.
But the provincial governor in Mazar has said the case is being handled with due process.