Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who was originally sentenced to death in Afghanistan for distributing information regarding the role of women in Islam in October 2007 is now free. Afghan President Hamid Karzai secretly pardoned Kambaksh, who was moved from a Kabul prison two weeks ago before being flown out of the country to an undisclosed location, reported the Independent UK. According to Reporters Without Borders, Kambaksh left the country due to fear of reprisals.
Kambaksh, a student who also worked as a part-time newspaper journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif, had downloaded an article on the rights of women in Islam from the internet and was convicted of “distributing blasphemous material.” He allegedly tortured while in prison and eventually received a reduced sentence of 20 years in prison, which was upheld by the Afghan Supreme Court.
Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, Kambaksh’s brother, told the Independent UK, “we are all very happy that so much progress has been made with Pervez and I want to thank all the people who have helped in this. I have to be careful about what I say but, of course, Pervez should never have been put in that position, it was wrong. The family is very glad he is out.”
Freedom-of-the-press advocates and human rights groups, including the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), have continuously championed Kambakhsh’s case and petitioned President Karzai for a presidential pardon in the case.