Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Afghanistan: What are we fighting for?

I'm a proponent of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan, but when I see stories like these you have to wonder what are we fighting for there?

Afghan MPs back blasphemy death

The upper house of the Afghan parliament has supported a death sentence issued against a journalist for blasphemy in northern Afghanistan.

Pervez Kambaksh, 23, was convicted last week of downloading and distributing an article insulting Islam. He has denied the charge.

The UN has criticised the sentence and said the journalist did not have legal representation during the case.

The Afghan government has said that the sentence was not final.

A government spokesman said recently that the case would be handled "very carefully".

Now the Afghan Senate has issued a statement on the case - it was not voted on but was signed by its leader, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, an ally of President Hamid Karzai.

It said the upper house approved the death sentence conferred on Mr Kambaksh by a city court in Mazar-e-Sharif.


It also strongly criticised what it called those institutions and foreign sources which, it said, had tried to pressurise the country's government and judiciary as they pursued people like Mr Kambaksh.

It's one thing to have one crazy judge in Afghanistan lay down a death sentence for blasphemy, but it's an entirely different thing when the leader in the Senate says the Senate endorses it.

This is a total outrage.

Is this the democratic government that we're fighting to defend in Afghanistan with our resources and manpower and blood?

Sure the Taliban is gone, but now we have a government in power that supports death sentences for blasphemy.

Not surprisingly, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier's office has been quiet on this.

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