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Afghan student sentenced to death for blasphemy had no lawyer during trial

[JURIST] The Afghan journalism student who was sentenced to death [JURIST report] in January for distributing papers questioning gender roles under Islamic practice told the Independent [interview text] on Sunday that he was not afforded a lawyer to represent him during his four-minute closed court trial, and that he was not permitted to speak on his own behalf. Sayad Parwez Kambaksh told the Independent that during his second hearing that:

I was taken into the court just before it shut at 4 o'clock. There were three judges and a prosecutor and some details of the case were repeated. One of the judges then said to me that I have been found guilty and the sentence was death. I tried to argue, but, as I said, they talked to me like a criminal, they just said I would be taken back to the prison.
Kambaksh was convicted of blasphemy for distributing papers questioning why Islam permits men to have up to four wives while women cannot have multiple husbands. The closed court invoked Article 130 of the Afghanistan Constitution [text] to sentence Kambaksh to death, a penalty for blasphemy consistent with Hanafi [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] law.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has received international pressure to pardon Kambaksh, but said earlier this month that he would not intervene during the pendency of Kambaksh's appeal [JURIST reports]. Afghan Supreme Court Justice Bahauddin Baha said last week that the appeals hearing would be held in open court and that Kambaksh will be allowed to choose his own defense lawyer for the proceeding. AFP has more.

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