Pervez's move to Kabul may herald his release

Pervez Kambaksh, the Afghan student sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading an internet report on women's rights, is to be moved from his current prison to one in Kabul.

Mr Kambaksh has been attacked at his current place of incarceration near Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country by fundamentalist inmates at the instigation of the prison guards, his family claim. They also say that he is being held in a small cell that he has to share with 30 others.

But family members said yesterday that they had been told unofficially that the 23-year-old journalism student would be transferred to the Afghan capital in the near future.

The immediate effect of this would be to extract him from the hands of the religious authorities who have pressed for his execution and demanded that the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, should not grant a reprieve in response to international pressure.

Relations and friends of Mr Kambaksh are worried that he remains in danger as long as he is kept in his current jail. They believe that, as worldwide protests over the case keep growing and the lobbying of President Karzai by public figures continues, the student may fall victim to a convenient "accident".

A member of Mr Kambaksh's family said: "He is being kept by the same people who wish him dead. They have total power in that part of the country and we really fear that anything can happen. The people who put him in prison are very angry about all the international attention this has raised. They can say that he was attacked by a fellow prisoner, or they can even say that he tried to escape. How can anyone disprove something like that?

"We believe that moving him from that jail is the first move in getting him to safety, and we are very grateful that it is now a good possibility. But freeing him is still a long way away and we are praying that the President will use his powers and pardon him."

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, raised the case of Mr Kambaksh with President Karzai during a recent meeting in Kabul. The Afghan leader has promised that "justice will be done" for the student.

Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, Mr Kambaksh's brother, is also a journalist and has written articles exposing abuse, including murder, by powerful political figures. The family feel that one reason Mr Kambaksh was arrested was to put pressure on Yaqub, who is himself now in hiding. "We hope that the same pressure which is helping to save Pervez can protect Yaqub as well," said the family member.

Mr Kambaksh was sentenced to death for blasphemy at the end of last month by a religious court in Mazar-i-Sharif for distributing an article on Koranic verses that deal with women. Part of the article, which he found on an Iranian website, discussed whether a Muslim man should have the right to marry more than one woman.

The severity of the sentence provoked international outrage, and an online petition launched by The Independent to save the student has been supported by more than 86,000 people.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee