AN Afghan court has sentenced an ex-journalist and a mullah to 20 years in
prison each for publishing a translation of the Koran alleged to contain
errors, friends and media rights groups said today.

Afghan and international media rights organisations condemned the sentences
handed down yesterday and called on President Hamid Karzai to intervene.

Former journalist Ahmed Ghous Zalmai was arrested in November trying to
escape into Pakistan as religious clerics and parliament were in an uproar
about a Dari-language version of the Muslim holy book he had published.

Mullah Qari Mushtaq, who was sentenced with him, had approved the version
which other clerics and parliamentarians claimed contained errors and
misunderstandings about issues such as homosexuality and adultery.

Critics also complained the book did not include the original Arabic text as
required by Islamic law.

“We appeal to the President’s spirit of tolerance and ask him to intercede
on behalf of two men who have been given extremely severe sentences,” said
Paris-based <http://www.rsf. org/rubrique. php3?id_rubrique =20> Reporters
Without Borders
and <http://www.article1 9.org/> Article 19, another rights

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