5 hours ago

Afghan journalist Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh at a Kabul court

KABUL (AFP) — Afghanistan’s appeal court referred Sunday a reporter sentenced to death on blasphemy charges to hospital for medical tests after he said he was tortured by security forces who fractured his nose.

Perwiz Kambakhsh, arrested late October and sentenced to death in January, has denied the charges and alleged security forces used torture to force him into a confession.

His defence lawyer, Mohammad Afzal Nuristani, repeated the allegation in court Sunday and requested the 23-year-old reporter be referred to hospital for forensic tests.

“My client has been tortured while in custody. He has suffered a fracture to his nose and damage to his wrist,” he said.

Judge Abdul Salam Qazaizada agreed to allow the reporter to undergo tests and adjourned the case until the results were available.

Kambakhsh was sentenced to death by a primary court in his hometown of Mazar-i-Sharif, where he is a university student of journalism and had worked on a small, local newspaper.

He was accused of distributing an article he downloaded from the Internet which questions the Koran, the Muslim holy book, particularly its views on women.

Afghanistan’s judicial system is based on Islamic Sharia law, which forbids criticism of Islam and rules that the death penalty should be applied in cases of blasphemy.

Kambakhsh’s case has prompted alarm from international media rights groups and governments, and calls for Western-backed President Hamid Karzai to intervene.


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