Mr. Said T. Jawad
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Afghanistan
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Dear Ambassador Jawad,
I am writing to convey my dismay and disappointment that the charges against Mr. Pervez Kambaksh for the supposed crime of blasphemy have not been dropped and that he still faces the possibility of the death penalty.
From what I have read, Mr. Kambaksh was originally convicted in a "trial" that lasted for only a few minutes where he was denied the right to counsel to challenge the charges brought against him. He also apparently is still unable to find legal counsel because fundamentalist thugs have threatened to kill anyone who takes his case.
With all due respect Mister Ambassador, blasphemy laws are an anachronism and have no place in a civilized society. The case of Mister Kambaksh demonstrates that such laws can be used to persecute innocent people and suppress the free exchange of ideas. I submit that blasphemy laws have the effect of retarding the growth and development of society when certain topics are considered off limits from discussing even as a hypothetical situation. It creates a repressive climate where one group with access to or influence over the levers of power can use such laws to limit criticism or target its political and intellectual opponents.
I call on the courts and elected government of the people of Afghanistan to abolish the death penalty for blasphemy and free Pervez Kambaksh. You know it is the right thing to do. Your President, the Honorable Hamid Karzai, knows it is the right thing to do. Find some technicality, some loophole, anything that will work, and let Pervez Kambaksh go free and be kept safe from narrow minded fanatics and bigots who would seek to do him harm.
I thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.