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jugular

A vida por um download - mais blasfémias

Se na Holanda o Supremo Tribunal é de facto a última defesa dos cidadãos em relação a  interpretações fundamentalistas da lei, no Afeganistão continua refém dos talibãs  Em Outubro contei na jugular a saga do jovem estudante de jornalismo afegão, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, condenado à morte por ter descarregado da rede um artigo que defendia os direitos das mulheres e questionava alguns versículos do Corão. Na altura referi que o advogado de defesa de Kambakhsh pretendia levar o caso ao Supremo e pedira ao presidente Karzai para intervir. Há dias o Supremo afegão pronunciou-se sem sequer ouvir a defesa do jovem de 23 anos e este vai apodrecer durante 20 anos na cadeia pelo terrível crime de blasfémia em terceira mão:

 

The 23-year-old, brought to worldwide attention after an Independent campaign, was praying that Afghanistan's top judges would quash his conviction for lack of evidence, or because he was tried in secret and convicted without a defence lawyer. Instead, almost 18 months after he was arrested for allegedly circulating an article about women's rights, any hope of justice and due process evaporated amid gross irregularities, allegations of corruption and coercion at the Supreme Court. Justices issued their decision in secret, without letting Mr Kambaksh's lawyer submit so much as a word in his defence.

Afzal Nooristani, the legal campaigner representing Mr Kambaksh, accused the judges of behaving "no better than the Taliban". Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into Afghanistan's legal system and 149 British soldiers have died there since 2001, but experts admit that state justice is still beyond the reach of most ordinary Afghans.

President Hamid Karzai promised last year that justice would be done "in the right way", after worldwide protests at how Mr Kambaksh was convicted. But Mr Nooristani claimed yesterday that there was "no respect for the law", even in the highest court in Afghanistan. "They have ignored the principle of crime and punishment, they have ignored the principle of innocent until proven guilty. They have got the same mindset as the Taliban."

The Supreme Court's decision means Mr Kambaksh's best hope is now a presidential pardon, which will force Mr Karzai to choose between fundamentalists in his government and the rule of law. It has also raised serious questions over the millions of dollars spent on Afghan justice reforms since 2001, which appear to have been wasted. Mr Nooristani said: "The whole system is corrupt. Even with more investment, the system won't work."

Mr Kambaksh was found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death last year for circulating an essay on women's rights which questioned verses in the Koran.

It later emerged he was convicted by three mullahs, in secret, without access to a lawyer. The sentence was commuted to 20 years on appeal. At that appeal, in October, the key prosecution witness withdrew his testimony, claiming he had been forced to lie on pain of death. The prosecution then appealed to the Supreme Court to reinstate the death sentence. The defence appealed to quash his conviction altogether.

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Isabel Moreira

Ana Vidigal
Irene Pimentel
Miguel Vale de Almeida

Rogério da Costa Pereira

Rui Herbon


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