The price of free speech

Linked with Shereen Sazawar – Afghanistan.

Published on The Independent, leading article, 31 January 2008.

The idea that any individual in any country should face execution for downloading information from the internet is as abhorrent as it is incomprehensible. That this should be happening in a nation whose government benefits from the military and financial support of Western countries, Britain included, should give us great pause for thought. Pervez Kabaksh, 23, is a student at an Afghan university and a journalist. He was arrested last year after downloading material about the role of women in Islamic societies. We can well imagine that the material was not flattering to, or particularly consonant with, some of the precepts of Islam. Mr Kambaksh was charged, and last week convicted, of blasphemy. He had pleaded not guilty … (full text).

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