10th June 2008
His Excellency Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic State of Afhanistan
Regarding Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh
From the non-political organisation of writers PEN International, I learn with dismay and alarm of the detention, since 27th October last year, and the ensuing death sentence of student of journalism Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh.
The health condition of the detainee is reported to have deteriorated considerably during his time in prison, and it seem that he is not given appropriate medical treatment. It is also reported that the trial was held behind closed doors and without legal representation, thus not after internationally acknowledged standards of legal practice.
Mr Kambakhsh is accused of distributing allegedly anti-Islamic literature, by handing out an article which he himself had not written. He was also reportedly accused of possessing anti-Islamic books and starting un-Islamic debates in classes. Mr Kambakhsh denies the accusations of blasphemy.
It seems obvious to PEN than the detainee is accused for practising his right to free expression, as laid down in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are deeply shocked at the death sentence handed down to him. We call for Your Excellency to intervene to secure his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Afghan law.
Your Excellency, I urge you to look into the case at your earliest convenience, and am confident that you will pay attention to this appeal.
Member of Writers in Prison Committee
CC by e-mail to Mr Humayun Hamidzada
and to Mr Hameed Nasry Wardak