Journalist's sentence still makes no sense

It's not just newspapers that are dying; it's newspaper reporters — and not the old, crusty variety. Here's just another reason not to go to J-school: A student journalist in Afghanistan was sentenced to death for blasphemy. And this is under the "good guys" — the Karzai regime, which we're supporting to the tune of billions of dollars.

But the good news is that the sentence of Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh (left) has now been reduced to only 20 years in prison.

What did this 24-year-old student do? The Guardian (U.K.) explains:

[Kambakhsh] was studying journalism at Balkh University in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and writing for local newspapers when he was arrested in October 2007.

Prosecutors alleged that Kambakhsh disrupted classes by asking questions about women's rights under Islam. They said he illegally distributed an article that suggested the Prophet Mohammad had ignored the rights of women.

In January this year, a lower court in Mazar-i-Sharif sentenced Kambakhsh to death after a trial that took place without a lawyer to represent him. . . .

After Kambaksh was sentenced to death in January, Muslim clerics welcomed the decision and there were public demonstrations against him.

In the West, the decision was seen as showing Afghanistan's slide towards an ultra-conservative view on religious and individual freedoms.

Again the reminder: This is taking place not under the Taliban but under the Taliban's foes, the puppet regime we're propping up.

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This is what U.S. troops over there are fighting and dying to preserve and protect: the right of a repressive government to execute people for asking questions about women's rights.

Couldn't Karzai's increasingly conservative regime at least hold off on the executions or imprisonment of "blasphemous" people until we finally leave Afghanistan?

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