More than 100,000 sign petition to save journalist held in Afghanistan

The Independent's petition to save the Afghan student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh from the gallows has collected a staggering 100,000 signatures as the 23-year-old languishes in a cell in Kabul awaiting appeal.

Mr Kambaksh was arrested for distributing a pamphlet about women's rights, and tried and convicted without a defence lawyer, in a closed court in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. His case led to international protests, led by the UN human rights chief, Louise Arbour, and Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State.

Last night, Mr Kambaksh's brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, thanked The Independent's army of readers around the world. "If it wasn't for the petition we would be alone. There are a lot of pressures inside Afghanistan from the fundamentalists. They are trying to execute my brother," he said. "Fortunately, against them, there is pressure from the international community, and The Independent petition. I really believe it will help us."

Mr Kambaksh was recently moved to Kabul's notorious Pol-i Charki prison, where last year guards dragged 15 men out of their cells, without warning, and executed them. The prison holds Afghanistan's worst criminals, but Mr Kambaksh was moved there at his own request, after fears about his safety in Mazar.

Originally he was in a cell with convicted murderers who attacked him because they believed he had offended Islam. He is currently being held in isolation.

"Everything is going very slowly," said Mr Ibrahimi. "We are both looking forward to the time of the appeal, but the judiciary hasn't given us an exact time. Everything is done, but my brother is still in prison."

The students from Balkh University's Sharia faculty, in Mazar, also circulated a blacklist of other journalists they accused of blasphemy, forcing friends of Mr Kambaksh to flee.

Fears over his fate have remained high, after the Supreme Court approved 100 death sentences, which are simply awaiting the President's signature. A moratorium on capital punishment ended last year when President Karzai ordered a mass execution.

The Independent's campaign to save the Afghan student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has attracted an astonishing 100,000 signatures. You can still add your voice to the campaign to save him. Sign our e-petition at www.independent.co.uk/pervez

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering