Hamid Karzai, President
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
c/o Embassy of Afghanistan
240 Argyle Ave.
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1B9
September 1, 2009
I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.
CJFE welcomes the release of Afghan journalist Sayad Parwez Kambaksh on September 7, who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by the provincial court in Balkh province.
It was reported that Kambaksh downloaded and shared an article from the internet with his friends and teachers at Balkh University. The article apparently discussed the rights of women as set out in the Koran.
Kambaksh has been freed, but has decided he must leave the country for reasons of safety as it is feared that religious fundamentalists may still try to harm him.
CJFE is extremely pleased that you have granted an official pardon to Sayad Parwez Kambaksh. We strongly believe that no journalist should go to prison or face a death sentence for simply exercising their right to free expression. We hope that this is a sign of renewed committed to this right by the government of Afghanistan and that in future journalists will be able to live in safety and without fear.
We thank you for your attention and look forward to your reply.
Arnold Amber, President
c.c.: His Excellency Jawed Ludin, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Canada;
Mr. William Crosbie, Ambassador of Canada to Afghanistan;
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs