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Malalai Joya: 'a huge prison for millions'

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We reported here last week on the quiet release of journalist/ student/ brother of intrepid journalist/ alleged feminist Pervez Kambakhsh, who had been imprisoned and sentenced to death (reduced to 20 years) for insulting Islam. Afghanistan's upper house of Parliament is angry about the release, according to Reuters:

The upper house of parliament said in a statement on September 14 that the release of the 24-year-old reporter who worked for the "Jahan-e Now" daily newspaper was contrary to Islamic values.

"The members of Meshrano Jirga (Council of Elders) expressed concern that this was not the first time a person sentenced for apostasy and impiety with the cooperation of anti-Islamic organizations is freed from punishment," it said in the statement, adding that Kambakhsh should have been punished... (link)

Meanwhile, suspended Afghan MP Malalai Joya has quite a different take on Kambakhsh's release:

“Karzai kept him in prison to gain the support of fundamentalists and keep them happy until the voting was over. Now, he has freed Kambaksh in a bid to present the rigged and fraudulent elections as free and fair – to throw dust in the eyes of the world and fool people into thinking that freedom of speech is not dead in Afghanistan. But this does not mean that the Afghan people enjoy democracy.

“Journalists continue to be threatened, murdered and forced to flee the country. They are constantly under pressure from the fundamentalists and cannot publish a single word against any of them. Censorship is rampant. The only newspapers allowed to be published are those that do not target foreign occupiers, fundamentalist criminals and druglords.

“I hope that while benefiting from the situation in the West, Kambaksh never forgets that Afghanistan, dominated by Northern Alliance, National Front, Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists, is still a huge prison for millions of his oppressed people.

“Thousands of his supporters, within and outside the country, are looking to him to continue his struggle for independence, freedom and democracy against the fundamentalists and their masters.” (link)

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