Update on Sayad Parwez Kambaksh campaign

Protesters marched through the Afghan capital Kabul yesterday in support of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh who still faces the death penalty for alleged blasphemy.

According to a report from the Institute for War & Peace reporting and written by his brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, columns of people marched through the streets of Kabul holding portraits of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh.

“The world media had snapped to attention, but for me it was especially important to see my own Afghan countrymen and women staging a demonstration for my brother, and for freedom. The January 31 protest was organised by the Afghanistan Solidarity Party.

“Many of the participants told me that although they did not know Parwez personally, they were marching to protect freedom of expression and democracy in Afghanistan.

“With shouts of ‘Long live democracy!’ and ‘We demand Parwez’s release!’, the demonstration went on for almost two hours, ending up at the front gate of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, where the protesters issued a statement.”

Elsewhere, Reuters reported that the US ambassador in Kabul planned to raise the matter with Afghan authorities.

The Independent also reported that Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has added her clout to the international campaign.

The paper said it was understood that Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, wrote to senior Afghan officials last weekend, including President Hamid Karzai, concerning the fate of Kambaksh.

The paper’s online petition has now been signed by more than 60,000 and the Facebook group has more than 760 members.