Facebook group defending Afghani reporter gathers strength

The Facebook group formed in support of the Afghani journalism student, Sayad Parwez Kambaksh, who was sentenced to death after being found guilty of insulting Islam has signed more than 340 members from around the world.

The Defend Sayad Parwez Kambaksh group was set up last week in protest against the death sentence handed to Kambaksh after an Afghan court ruled he had violated the tenets of Islam by distributing an anti-Islamic paper he printed off the internet.

It has so far signed 340 members and many have also written to their relevant Afghan embassies or their political representatives. The site includes links to template letters such as the one created by the International Federation of Journalists, which can be sent to Afghan president Hamid Karzai

Sayad Parwez Kambaksh, who works as a journalist at the Jahan-i-Naw newspaper in Mazar-i-Sharif and is a student at Balkh University, reportedly took the downloaded paper to school to discuss it with his teacher and classmates. Several students allegedly complained to the government, leading to Kambaksh's arrest.

The 23-year-old has been jailed since October last year and will remain in custody while the case goes to an appeal court.

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