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Censorship Government The Courts News

Afghan Student Gets 20 Years For Blasphemy 618

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "Despite nationwide public support for his initial death sentence, a three-judge appeals court has reduced the sentence of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh to 20 years in prison. Kambakhsh was charged with circulating an article on women's rights that he found online. From the article: 'Family members have said Kambakhsh was beaten and threatened with death until he signed a confession and that local journalists who expressed support for him were warned they would be arrested if they persisted.'"
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Afghan Student Gets 20 Years For Blasphemy

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  • by CrimsonKnight13 ( 1388125 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @03:24PM (#25472783) Homepage
    Tell me why we're supporting Afghanistan again? How is the current government any better than the Taliban?
  • Re:As a Canadian (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArcSecond ( 534786 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @03:50PM (#25473219)
    Agreed. And I used to be in the infantry. If they were accomplishing something worth dying for, I wouldn't have a problem with the sacrifices Canada has made. But when you look at the kind of power structyre that were are being asked to support, it turns my stomach.
  • Re:absurd (Score:1, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @04:19PM (#25473623) Journal

    It is really tough to consider that these flagrant transgressions still go on in todays environment.

    Define "todays environment"
    Because this is Afghanistan we're talking about, not a developed country.

    Different societies have different values.
    And Americans are usually guilty of ethnocentrism when they discuss the world at large.

  • Re:absurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @05:30PM (#25474823)

    um you should get your story straight. there are 50 separate governments within the USA, not all of them have death penalties and of those that do, less than half kills more than one person a decade. The only notable exception is the same idiot state that brought us George Bush.
    the USA is closer to european union than to one country. A fact that is often forgotten.

  • by enjo13 ( 444114 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @05:50PM (#25475089) Homepage []

    I'm not sure why others have been modded down, but that pretty much refutes the argument.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FreakWent ( 627155 ) <> on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @05:55PM (#25475145)

    Sorry I've spent a lot of time looking at this.

    A smack addiction, provided the drug is clean and doesn't involve risks associated with crime to get it, won't harm the body. It's not carcinogenic, like anything smoked, it's not bad for the heart, like alcohol, baccy, cocaine and speed, it doesn't lead to psychosis, like weed and speed and cocaine can.

    As for dependence, you are of course right; but that's not dangerous in and of itself. As with any opiate, if you get a continuing clean supply you won't have much physical health trouble from the drug itself.

    Now it stuffs up your life, since you spend a certain amount of time non-functional, and it cost a bucketload of money, but these are not direct medical/physical harms of the kinds we associate with smoking, drinking or crystal meth (ice).

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @06:25PM (#25475493) Homepage

    I have heard of attrocities like this in Afghanistan for a very long time. Horrible things done to women, historical art destroyed and all manner of illustrations proving that their religious belief and practice is simply inhuman, inhumane and just plain wrong. And when the US first invaded Afghanistan I thought it was stupid, but MAYBE something good could come of this... the whole idea of ousting the evils of their muslim laws and brutalities, bringing in democracy... waving American flags! I admit I was hoping for a silver lining all though the black cloud of war.

    So now, not only are young service men with good hearts and intention being WASTED, KILLED and otherwise DESTROYED for a meaningless cause, the crap that was going on before is still going on in Afghanistan. They are still brutal muslims abusing and killing women and anyone who might try to defend them.

    So why the heck are US troops still occupying Afghanistan if this still is still going to be allowed?

    My sane side says we need to leave Iraq and Afghanistan YESTERDAY and try our best to look the other way while all these things are happening. It does no good for us to have a closer look at it and do nothing to stop it.

    My insane side says we need to bomb their land until it turns into solid glass and nothing can live there ever again.

    With this single news story, the last remnant of hope that just MAYBE something good and decent may have come from the US invasion and occupation of these foreign sovereign nations just died.

    We need to pull all of our military sons and daughters out of there because they are not support ANYONE's freedom. Not theirs and not ours. Their presence makes people hate the US more and more which ultimately makes us far less safe than ever before.

    What's more, we're in a tremendous fight for our own democratic republic and the integrity of the nation's constitution. "Looks what's going on over there!" says Cheney and Company, "Let's spend all of your money on that cause over there because you are scared! Pay no attention to the new laws and police we are creating or anything else we are doing... we are trying to secure your freedom."

    If it can't be stopped, then we're all better off dead.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @07:02PM (#25475941)

    While there are no deaths directly attributable to marijuana alone, marijuana + alcohol is a noticeably more dangerous combination than just alcohol. As a potent antiemetic, marijuana will prevent you from vomiting up the alcohol still in your stomach unabsorbed when your body otherwise would, making it *far* easier to die from alcohol poisoning. Yes, the alcohol does the actual killing, but the marijuana is far from an innocent bystander.

    That said, I fully support legalization of marijuana -- I just think it does people a disservice to claim it's completely safe when there is a common and potentially fatal drug interaction to be aware of.

    And for the record, death tolls for the various psychedelics are also quite low. There is significant variation among them, though, with some being quite safe (eg LSD) and others less so (MDMA and other amphetamine / methamphetamine based psychedelics are still potent stimulants, with all their attendant risks).

  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @07:06PM (#25475991)
    Actually, under the Taliban, you could get get executed for growing heroin poppies. After the Taliban got run off, heroin production skyrocketed.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by WillKemp ( 1338605 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @07:15PM (#25476113) Homepage

    Look, it is that very prohibition which inflates the price and causes these farmers to resort to growing poppies instead of say - wheat.

    That's absolutely not true in Afghanistan. The reason why they grow poppies instead of wheat is because wheat wouldn't grow in those places anyway. Virtually nothing else of any value will grow where poppies are grown, without irrigation - and they can't afford that. They really don't have a choice.

    However, there are plenty of places in the world where poppies are grown legally for pharmaceutical use where other crops could be grown instead. Growing other crops in those places should be subsidised and the poppy harvest in Afghanistan should be legalised and bought for pharmaceutical use. Unfortunately, the US government doesn't think like that.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @09:42PM (#25477403)

    It is fair because it shows the "War on Drugs" priorities are out of whack, if their actual goal is reducing death and other harm caused by addictive drug use. It also makes the "War on Terror" equally laughable, where are those trillions to fight legal drug and disease deaths?

    Millions of people aren't going to take up mainlining heroin just because it gets de-criminalised. Having clean heroin of a known dosage, would also reduce a lot of those deaths (OD's spike when junkies change supplier because of the purity issue).

    P.S. For it be a totally fair comparison you would need to compare tobacco and heroin users from the same socio-economic class, and account for other variables like the amount of medical treatment they received to counter the negative effects of their drug of choice.

  • Re:absurd (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @09:46PM (#25477429)

    Here's a link with the number from a critical source: []

    Even though the linked article paints a militaristic view of US involvement in foreign aid, it concedes that US "military" aid is often anything but. The article does state (and rightly) that our aid dollars are not being spent as efficiently as they ought to be, and that civilian organizations can often do a better job (private foreign aid from the US topped $122 billion last year; I read it and lost the link. Sorry).

    Now, as for the HRI index: it blasts the US for giving goods instead of writing checks, and for designating cash for specific humanitarian projects, which is nit-picking IMH(and unfamiliar)O. Particularly specious is the political argument; our aid means less because we haven't signed "key" international treaties, which casts a political light on the HRI.

  • Re:absurd (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Curtman ( 556920 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2008 @10:04PM (#25477545)

    Even though the linked article paints a militaristic view of US involvement in foreign aid, it concedes that US "military" aid is often anything but.

    Right, it also includes rebuilding (and things related to rebuilding) things that the US previously destroyed.

  • Re:absurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @02:17AM (#25478953) Homepage

    Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing - with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for the second and third place.

    ---- Robert A. Heinlein

  • Re:absurd (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:43AM (#25479277)

    You know, a long time ago, Christians used to burn people alive while the Jews sacrificed lambs at the altar.

    Except they grew out of it. Even the most religious ones.

    Therein lies the problem with Islam. Other religions have seen a calendar and worked out what century it is (the 21st last I checked). Much of Islam is stuck in the 7th century, where it's okay to marry 9 year olds (hey, Mohamed did it) and murder people for blasphemy.

    Of course I'll probably get branded "racist" for saying this, but geez, someone needs to because at this point it's fairly safe to say most of the Muslim world aren't talking about it at all.

  • Re:absurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WK2 ( 1072560 ) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @10:58AM (#25482173) Homepage

    Don't forget "use" and "possession" crimes. They should be in the top 10.

    AC said: "planning crimes *is* a crime"

    If that were true, crime dramas would be dead in the water. So would real life law enforcement. And security companies. And pretty much every job that requires someone to predict or understand the behavior of criminals. Even if someone were to intend to commit a crime, they should not be punished unless they actually attempt to carry it out. Everyone should be given a chance, unless you thought Minority Report represented a good idea.

  • Re:absurd (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonasj ( 538692 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @07:43AM (#25495985)

    Don't forget "use" and "possession" crimes. They should be in the top 10.

    Indeed. If you haven't, you should consider reading the most excellent book on this subject, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do by Peter McWilliams, available from amazon here [] and full text online here [].

    (That's not a referral link, I won't make any money if you buy the book from amazon via that link, I'm just posting this because I happen to think that the world will be a better place if more people read that book.)

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson