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(Kabul, Afghanistan) A 24-year-old Afghan reporter, Perwiz Kambaksh, was sentenced by an appeals court yesterday to 20 years in jail for blasphemy. Kambaksh had originally been sentenced to death and has spent a year in jail waiting for the appeal.
The appeal court "has eliminated the possibility of his being executed, but it has also exposed the degree to which some Afghan judges are susceptible to pressure from fundamentalists," it said in a statement.

"Kambakhsh was able this time to be represented by a lawyer, but the appeal proceedings were marred by ideological distortion, a glaring lack of evidence and incomprehensible delays that ended up undermining the court's serenity."

The reporter was not given a lawyer at his first trial in the northern province of Balkh in January at which he was sentenced to death after a hearing that lasted minutes.​
Last month, a different reporter was sentenced to 20 years in jail for publishing a translation of the Koran which contained errors.

Obviously, freedom of speech and press are unknown concepts in Afghanistan.
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