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Friday, January 06, 2006

Freedom's just another word

Via WIIIAI (say that fast five times), I learn of a WaPo article from a couple of week which demonstrates just how liberated Afghanistan is after four years of US occupation:
An Afghan journalist who was recently sentenced to two years in prison for publishing controversial magazine articles about Islam, women's rights and the Afghan justice system will be released from jail later this week, officials said.

Before gaining his freedom, however, Ali Mohaqeq Nasab had to confront an agonizing choice: formally apologize for what he had published or risk being sent to the gallows.

After refusing for three months to retract his comments, Nasab told an appeals court this week that he was sorry for printing stories that asserted women should be given status equal to men in court, questioned the use of physical punishments for crimes and suggested converts from Islam should not face execution.
Nasab reportedly now loves Big Brother, the Afghan version of which still looks a lot like the Taliban.

Here's the background:
Nasab returned to Afghanistan last year following a long exile in Iran and began publishing a magazine called Women's Rights. Articles in the May issue attracted the attention of a Muslim cleric, who denounced Nasab as an infidel during Friday sermons.

When Nasab complained to officials in the justice system in September, he was detained on charges of blasphemy. Prosecutors said Nasab's articles -- including one that claimed God, not the courts, should punish those who leave Islam -- proved he had abandoned his religion. They pushed for the death penalty, but a lower court gave him a two-year sentence.

That decision provoked an outcry among religious conservatives. A council of 200 religious leaders in the southern city of Kandahar issued a fatwa , or religious edict, calling for Nasab to be hanged unless he repented. A division of the Supreme Court took a similar step.
One of the appeals judges, Abdul Muqeem Atarud, said Thursday that he had heard from many people on both sides of the issue.

"We told them that if he did not repent, he would be executed. It's the only way," Atarud said. "It says in sharia that if someone repents" for leaving Islam, "he should be forgiven. So that is what happened." Sharia is the Islamic system of justice.