Kjent afghansk forfatter angrepet med syre i Kabul

Razak Mahmoon er en tidligere nyhetsoppleser på afghansk fjernsyn og har ofte deltatt i debattprogram som politisk analytiker.  Hans kommentarer blir oppfattet som meget kritiske overfor Afghanistans største etniske gruppe, pashtunerne, som inkluderer både president Karzai og en rekke Taliban-ledere.  Han er også en kjent forfatter som er presentert i antologien “Bitre mandler” med et utdrag fra sin roman “Selvmordets tidsalder”.

Mahmoon ble angrepet i det han forlot sin leilighet i Kabul i går (tirsdag 18.01).  Han pådro seg 10% brannskader i ansiktet og på hendene og ble raskt fraktet til et sykehus.  Han ble senere overført til et militærsykehus av sikkerhetshensyn og vil i morgen bli sendt idere til et sykehus i India for ytterligere behandling av skadene.

Razak Mahmoon er en av Afghanistans mest frittalende forfattere og har skrevet to kjente romaner om politiske attentater i Afghanistan.  Norsk PEN nestleder, Elisabeth Eide, har sendt hilsener til Razak Mahmoon i Kabul og sier at “Norsk PEN fordømmer det inntrufne på det skarpeste.”

Praise to Norwegian PEN for helping solve the Kambakhsh-case

PRESS RELEASE

Praise to Norwegian PEN for helping solve the Kambakhsh-case

In a three-page interview in the Norwegian daily Dagbladet, the United Nation´s special representative in Afghanistan, Mr. Kai Eide, discloses some of the secrecy that has characterized the Kambakhsh-case and, in particular, Kambakhsh´s release and travel to Scandinavia.  Credit is also given to Norwegian PEN and its Vice President Elisabeth Eide for contributing positively to solving this case.

Norwegian PEN and other PEN-centers had been working actively with other global freedom of expression organizations and Norwegian and Swedish politicians, in order to get Kambakhsh out of prison and out of Afghanistan, when the news of his release was made public in early September this year.  However, details about his release and subsequent flight from Afghanistan, have been kept secret for security reasons.  Now that Kambakhsh is safe, Mr. Eide tells his dramatic story to Norwegian media.

Kai Eide was well familiar with the Kambakhsh case prior to his engagement as the UN special representative in Afghanistan.  In September 2008 he started working actively in order to get him released.  In April this year, Eide made an attempt to get Kambakhsh out of the country, but failed.  However, on August 20., only a few weeks prior to the presidential elections, there was an opening and Kambakhsh was released from jail and placed in Mr. Eides custody.  «This happened very close to the elections and I was very nervous about the process of getting him out of the country», says Eide to Dagbladet.

Total secrecy was essential.  The only ones informed about the case at this point, were Eides closest advisors.  Kambakhsh remained in Mr. Eide’s custody for more than two weeks during the ongoing presidential elections.  Eide’s main worry now was how to get Kambakhsh out of Afghanistan.  Getting a visa to any European country was difficult and Eide visited several embassies, but with no luck.  Eventually, a passport with a visa to Norway was obtained.

Kambakhsh´golden opportunity to get out of Afghanistan happened suddenly when the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Bildt, arrived in Kabul on the Swedish government´s private jet.  Eide contacted Bildt on the morning of his return to Sweden, asking him if Kambakhsh could join him on the flight to Stockholm.  The answer was an immediate yes and one of Eide’s advisors joined Bildt and Kambakhsh on the plane to Stockholm.  Kambakhsh then travelled by car to Oslo where he stayed for one week.

During his week in Oslo, Kambakhsh also met and had dinner with Elisabeth Eide and Anders Heger, President of Norwegian PEN. He also met with the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre who has supported his case for a long time.

Kai Eide tells Dagbladet that » Kambakhsh did not relax until he arrived in Oslo.  Staying with me in Kabul was also like beeing in jail, albeit a better one.  He lived in constant fear that something should go wrong and that he would be sent back to jail (……..) When we went for a walk in the streets of Oslo, Kambakhsh jokingly said that this was probably the only place we can both walk freely and without guards.»

The Dagbladet article credits the work of  Norwegian PEN and its Vice President, Elisabeth Eide.  Norwegian PEN worked closely with Danish PEN and other PEN centers, as well as the Danish and Norwegian Journalists´ Assocations. A delegation from Norwegian PEN and Index on Censorship visited Kabul in May this year, meeting with Kai Eide, Kambakhsh’ relatives and lawyer.  In cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists and International PENs Emergency Fund, money was also raised for Kambakhsh´s defence and for the continuous work of the famous writer Dr. Samay Hamed who was instrumental in moving the case forward by using pressure on the Afghan government and president Karzai. Due to his efforts, petitions were mobilized for Kambakhsh’ release in more than 20 provinces of Afghanistan last year.

The young journalist Sayed Pervez Kambakhsh was sentenced to death in December 2007 for blasphemy.  His crime was that he had downloaded a report critizising the treatment of women under Islamic law.  The trial was held behind closed doors and without a lawyer representing Kambakhsh.  The Afghan senate confirmed the death sentence in a statement in January 2008, but the statement was later withdrawn.  In October 2008 an appeals court cancelled the death sentence.  In stead, Kambakhsh was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Kambakhsh´s current place of residence cannot be disclosed for security reasons.

Oslo, 16. December 2009

Seyed Pervez Kambakhsh frigitt

Den afghanske journalisten Seyed Pervez Kambakhsh som ble fengslet for snart to år siden, er nå satt fri melder internasjonale menneskerettighets- og ytringsfrihetsorganisasjoner.

Norsk PEN har, sammen med International PEN og en rekke PEN-sentere, arbeidet aktivt for Kambakhsh´s løslatelse siden like etter fengslingen i januar 2008.

Norsk PEN gleder seg over frigivelsen av Kambakhsh, som nå er ute av Afghanistan og oppholder seg på ukjent sted.

Den afghanske poeten Samay Hamed som er bosatt i Danmark har sendt oss dette diktet ifm. frigivelsen av Kambakhsh:
God morgen, Kambakhsh

Med stjerneskudd i ryggmargen
krysset du skoger av piggtråd,
varslet væromslag
med neven knyttet om et solsikkefrø.
Bøyd over hestens flagrende man
snudde du stormen

Hevnens mørke kameler er redde nå,
men de pisker fremdeles framtiden bakover
Trekk pusten!
Åpne knyttneven!
God morgen, Kambakhsh!

2008: Afghanistan: Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh

Bergen, 24. October 2008

His Excellency Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan
Kabul
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Mr Hameed Nasry Wardak
Spokesperson
Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs
Afghanistan
Tel: +93 700 989 696
E-mail: hameednasry@yahoo.com

Mr Humayun Hamidzada
Spokesperson for President Karzai
Afghanistan
Tel: +93 797 163 355
E-mail: bafir.ayoubi@gmail.com

Your Excellency,

As a member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN, I am deeply concerned by the twenty-year sentence handed down to journalist and twenty-three year old Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh.
Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh has been sentenced by a Kabul appeal court on 21 October 2008, which commuted the death sentence but upheld his conviction for «blasphemy».  Kambakshsh detained by National Directorate of Security (NDS) forces on blasphemy charges after allegedly downloading and distributing to friends an article that said the Prophet Mohammed ignored women’s rights. Kambakhsh was not the author of the article. He was also reportedly accused of possessing allegedly anti-Islamic books and starting un-Islamic debates in his classes.
I seek your assurance, Your Excellency President Karzai, to intervene to secure his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Afghan law and Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Trine Kleven
Member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

COPIES TO:
The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
National Day: 19 August – National Day
Chancery: Kronprinsens gate 17, 0244 Oslo
Telephone: 22 83 84 10
Telefax: 22 83 84 11
E-mail: info@afghanistanembassy.no
Web-site: www.afghanistanembassy.no

Norsk PEN, Amnesty International Norge og Norsk Journalistlag ber utenriksminister Støre legge press på afghanske myndigheter

PRESSEMELDING

Norsk PEN, Amnesty Norge og Norsk Journalistlag ber utenriksminister Støre legge press på den afghanske regjeringen.

I et felles brev til utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre ber i dag de tre organisasjonene om at Norge legger press på afghanske myndigheter for å oppnå en rettferdig løsning for den fengslede, dødsdømte journalisten Sayed Perwez Kambakhsh. Kambakhsh ble arrestert i oktober i fjor og dømt til døden i januar i år for å ha spredt informasjon han lastet ned fra Internett.

I forbindelse med morgendagens giverlandskonferanse for Afghanistan i Paris, ber nå Norsk PEN, Amnesty Norge og Norsk Journalistlag om at utenriksministeren, gjennom forhandlingene i Paris, bidrar til en rettferdig løsning på Kambakhsh-saken gjennom å stå fast på forsvaret av retten til ytringer.

Hele brevet følger som vedlegg til denne pressemeldingen.  LENKE KOMMER

For nærmere og utfyllende informasjon, kontakt:

Norsk PEN v/generalsekretær Carl Morten Iversen – 926 88 023 eller nestleder Elisabeth Eide – 9953 8384
Norsk Journalistlag nestleder Kjetil Haanes – 9020 1234
Amnesty International, Norge v/generalsekretær John Peder Egenæs – 9110 0676

Fellesbrev til utenriksminister Støre

11. juni 2008

Til
Utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre
Avdelingsdirektør Tine Mørch Smith

Afghanistan: Ytringsfriheten og Kambakhsh-saken

Foran donormøtet i Paris vil Amnesty Norge, Norsk PEN og Norsk Journalistlag uttrykke sin dype bekymring over ytringsfrihetens stilling i Afghanistan. Sist helg ble journalisten Abdul Samad Rohani, som arbeidet for BBC i Helmand-provinsen, funnet skutt. I fjor måtte flere journalister bøte med livet, og mange, ikke minst kvinnelige reportere, er blitt truet og angrepet. Ingen ansvarlige er hittil stilt for retten. Mediene som så ut til å blomstre etter fem-seks mørke år under Taliban, går nå trangere tider i møte. Tre afghanske journalister sitter fengslet. Den mest kjente blant dem er Sayed Perwez Kambakhsh, som ble arrestert i oktober 2007 og dømt til døden i januar i år. Rettergangen var summarisk uten tilgang til forsvarer. Ankesaken hans ser ut til å være utsatt på ubestemt tid. Sterke krefter i Afghanistan mobiliserer nå støtte til dødsdommen, mens de gruppene og enkeltpersonene som forsvarer ham og ytringsfriheten, blir truet og til dels marginalisert.

Kambakhsh-saken er i ferd med å utvikle seg til å bli en symbolsak for ytringsfrihet i Afghanistan og en gradmåler for styrkeforholdet mellom de som vil innføre sterkere restriksjoner og de som vil forsvare den afghanske grunnlovens paragraf 34 uten for store forbehold. Saken omhandler en enkeltskjebne, men kan også betraktes som et veiskille for den afghanske nasjonen når det gjelder borgerrettigheter. Forhandlingene så langt har allerede vist at gjeldende rettspraksis ligger veldig langt fra normale prosedyrer. Vi er klar over at Afghanistan er i en gjenreisningsperiode og at det vil ta tid å få på plass et velfungerende juridisk system, men frykter at utviklingen nå går i gal retning og at tendensen kan forsterke seg om det ikke blir foretatt en grenseoppgang mot overgrep.

Donormøtet i Paris står for døren. Vi frykter også at uten betydelig press fra det internasjonale samfunnet og donorene, vil de kreftene som ønsker å dømme Kambakhsh vinne terreng. En ytterligere utsettelse av rettergangen og ankesaken kan i sin tur føre til at de får enda mer vind i seilene. Dette vil i sin tur skape en mer utrygg situasjon for andre journalister og skribenter som ennå gjør det de kan for å praktisere og forsvare ytringsfriheten.

Norge og en rekke andre nasjoner er dypt militært involvert i Afghanistan og har betydelig innflytelse gjennom bistand til gjenreisning av det sivile samfunnet. Hvis dommen mot Kambakhsh blir stående, må donornasjonene stille spørsmål om hvilke krefter som nyter godt av denne støtten og hvilke som taper, og dessuten hvor grensene går for militært, politisk og økonomisk engasjement i et land hvis utvikling på det menneskerettslige området går i negativ retning. Vi håper at den norske regjeringen kan bringe disse synspunktene tydelig fram under forhandlingene i Paris og dermed legge press på den afghanske regjeringen for at de skal bidra til en rettferdig løsning på Kambakhsh-saken og stå fast i forsvaret av retten til frie ytringer.

Norsk PEN                Norsk Journalistlag        Amnesty Norge
Anders Heger/s.        Kjetil Haanes/s.            John Peder Egenæs/s.
leder                        nestleder                     generalsekretær

2008: Afghanistan: Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh

10th June 2008

His Excellency Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic State of Afhanistan
Kabul

Your Excellency,

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.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
Member of Writers in Prison Committee

CC by e-mail to Mr Humayun Hamidzada
and to Mr Hameed Nasry Wardak

2008: Afghanistan: Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh

Oslo, 24 January 2008

His Excellency Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan
Kabul
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Your Excellency,

I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committe of Norwegian PEN, am shocked by the death sentence handed down to journalist Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh on 22 January 2008 for blasphemy. Norwegian PEN calls upon You, Your Excellency, to personally intervene in this case as a matter of urgency, and call for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to PEN’s information, twenty-three year-old Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, journalism student at Balkh university and reporter for the local daily Jahan-e-Naw (The New World), was arrested on 27 October 2007 in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province, northern Afghanistan for distributing allegedly anti-Islamic literature.

He was detained by National Directorate of Security (NDS) forces on blasphemy charges after downloading and giving to friends an article that allegedly said the Prophet Mohammed ignored women’s rights. He was not the author of the article. He was also reportedly accused of possessing allegedly anti-Islamic books and starting un-Islamic debates in his classes. Whilst Kambakhsh admits to circulating the article, he denies the accusations of blasphemy.

Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh was tried by an Islamic court in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh Province, on 22 January 2008, and sentenced to death. The trial was reportedly held behind closed doors, and he had no legal representation.

Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh is feared to be targeted for association with his brother, prominent journalist Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, who works for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting and has been under escalating pressure for his critical reporting on local officials and warlords.

I call upon you, Your Excellency, to take immediate action and to intervene to secure the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh.

Yours sincerely

Elisabet W. Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
The Norwegian Embassy in Kabul
The Representative for Afghanistan in Norway

Utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre møter afghansk PEN

Norsk støtte til PEN-klubben i Afghanistan

Under sitt besøk i Afghanistan møtte utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre representanter for den afghanske PEN-klubben og afghanske forfattere i Kabul 19. januar. Utenriksdepartementet har gjennom flere år støttet den afghanske PEN-klubbens arbeid for ytringsfrihet og forfatteres rettigheter i landet gjennom et samarbeid med den norske PEN-klubben.

– PEN-klubben gjør et viktig arbeid i Afghanistan, det fikk jeg bekreftet gjennom møtet med forfatterne. Dette er modige mennesker som arbeider under vanskelige forhold. Norge vil fortsatt støtte dette arbeidet, sier utenriksministeren.

Representantene for den afghanske PEN-klubben understreket at forholdene for journalister og forfattere var blitt bedre de siste årene, men at mye gjensto. Dette gjaldt særlig i provinsene, hvor ytringsfrihet og kritisk tenkning blir sett på som en trussel av de lokale makthaverne.

Habibullah Rafi i den afghanske PEN-klubben understreket at et fortsatt internasjonalt fokus på ytringsfrihet og forfatteres situasjon i Afghanistan var avgjørende. Han trakk særlig frem det internasjonale presset som kom etter initiativ fra den norske PEN-klubben for å forhindre at en domstol i Afghanistan idømte en forfatter dødsstraff.

– Det internasjonale nettverket av PEN-klubber er avgjørende for å ivareta journalister og forfatteres rettigheter. Dette er særlig viktig i land som Afghanistan, hvor man skal etablere et demokrati og fri offentlig meningsbrytning etter mange år med diktatur og undertrykkelse, sier utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre. – Vi vil fortsette med å si fra om dette i vår kontakt med afghanske myndigheter, ser utenriksministeren.

Høyt aktivitetsnivå i Afghansk PEN

Afghan PEN Activity Report July 2006

 

Documentation & new members
Afghan PEN centre has now 511 registered members from all over Afghanistan most of whom have received official Afghan PEN ID cards.

Registration of PEN
Afghan PEN was registered with the justice ministry. Based on the new law, organizations that are registered with the justice ministry do not have the right to receive funding from international sources, which means we also have to get ourselves registered with the information & culture ministry.

Publications
The following four books have been published:
–    Gul-e-Doody, Nadia Anjuman’s poetry collection
–    Aimwarg, a collection of poetry in Pashayi language
–    Zangal au zala bezu, a short story for children in Pashtu, by Ajmal Torman
–    Nilu, a collection of short stories by Belqis Makiz

200 copies of each of the published books have been distributed to the public libraries and university. 18 copies of Gul-e-Doody 21 copies of Aimwarg have been sold during the events at the house. Two other Collections of Persian and Pashtu short stories are being published.

The PEN magazine’s Pashtu and Persian versions have been submitted for publication but have not yet been published for technical reasons.  A brochure on Afghan PEN and freedom of expression have been published in 1000 copies.

Networking
a. Based on the conference held in May, over 200 writers from the provinces joined the Afghan PEN.

b. The Afghan PEN held recitals for 8 writers from Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kandahar, Khost and Herat.

c. The Youth Writers’ Home was officially opened. It has 5 rooms, and is located near the university. Civil Society & Human Rights Network (CSHRN) will pay the monthly rent cost of $270 for one year. The Youth Writers’ have has 118 members so far. Youth writers hold their own regular book reading, poetry recital, short story reading and critique. Literary workshops are held two days a week.

d. Goroh-e-Talaya-ha (pioneers’ group) was established. After several meetings with women’s rights activists, woman writers and journalists, a group of 37 women was formed and named «Talaya-ha». This group will work with the Afghan PEN to promote women’s literature and discover literary talents among Afghan women. Talaya-ha group is formed of university students, University lecturers, literary programme runners, and women’s rights activists.

Literary Workshops and Conferences
Poetry techniques and short story techniques workshop was held for one month with participation of 27 youths.

Satire techniques workshop is still going on.

Literary criticism workshop was held for one day for 108 students of literature faculty.

Conference on the development of women’s literature held for one day in Setara Restaurant for 311 participants including 121 women. 15 articles were read in this conference and at the end there was a round table discussion on women’s literature in Afghanistan.

Literature against violence conference was held for one day, with participation of 211 writers and journalists at the Keshmeshak restaurant. The participants discussed about the role of literature in conflict resolution and it was agreed that in the near future a group of 100 writers and singers will go to the provinces and hold literary functions to speak against the culture of violence.

Children’s Literature
«Ghuchi mega chi mega» was a programme held for children. Poets read their poems for children.

«Let’s write for children!» was a one-hour round table on Afghan national TV with seven writers.

Mirror Day (Roz-e-Ayina)
Najib Roshan (General director of Afghan Radio TV) was summoned to the court of PEN and answered the questions and criticism by the participants. Mr Roshan accepted several suggestions of the Afghan PEN to bring improvement in the programmes of the national TV.

Appreciation Day (Roz-e-Sepaas)
The Afghan PEN held a grand function to express appreciation to the veteran poet Haidari Wojoodi who has worked in the field of poetry for 46 years.

An other grand function was held for appreciation to the Pashtu ghazals king Pir mohamad Karwan. Karwan is the most effective poet of Pashtu language.

Afghan PEN TV programme
Afghan PEN makes a literary TV programme for the national TV. 2 programme has already been aired. Afghan PEN will also make two programmes a month (Pahtu and Persian) about the members of the Afghan PEN and their literary work.

Literary events in the hourse:
In June and July to date, the Afghan PEN has held 41 events (poetry recitals, short story reading, literary criticism, satire, and music programmes). There is a small event in the house almost every day.

Prizes
The Afghan PEN has announced the following prizes:

Translation prize, a prize of $1000 has been announced for a book on literary theories. The amount will be given by Negisa foundation.

The amount $9000 has been announced for three books by women. This will be paid by Negisa.

The amount $1000 has been announced for two poetry books for children. This will also be paid by Negisa foundation.

Defence of freedom of expression
Balkh TV journalists had problem of censorship imposed by government officials. Samay Hamed, Shafiq Payam, and Najib Roshan went to the province and had a meeting with the governor. The problem has been solved now.

Essa Behsham (a poet living in Baghlan province) had written something on religious issues that had outraged the mullahs there. Samay Hamed had a meeting with Baghlan governor and he expressed his commitment to help the writer who has now gone back to his city after escaping away for sometime.

Some writers came to the Afghan PEN complaining about censorship in that city. Representative of the Afghan PEN met with the writers and the government officials there. They all promised to protect freedom of expression.