Journalism Student Secretly Released After 2 Years in Prison

Warning: Do NOT study journalism in Afghanistan.  Or at least for now, if you do, keep your mouth shut.  Case in point: An Afghan journalism student was secretly freed earlier this month after spending nearly two YEARS in prison.  His crime: Speaking up in class “about women’s rights under Islam.”

Specifically, according to an AP report, “[p]rosecutors said he showed contempt for Islam by asking questions about women’s rights and for distributing an article he had taken off the Internet that asks why Islam does not modernize to give women equal rights. He also allegedly wrote his own comments on copies of the article.”

Officials originally sentenced the poor guy, a student at Balkh University, to death, and then settled for 20 years in prison.  Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai secretly signed a pardon a few weeks back and the student is now out of the country due to fear of reprisals for his actions.  All this because he had the gall to speak, or seek, the truth.  The pardon is a positive for our profession, but as the story shows, Afghanistan’s journalism education has a long way to go.

One Response to “Journalism Student Secretly Released After 2 Years in Prison”
  1. hyacinths says:

    My two cents – Its not just about Afghanistan’s journalism education, right? It is more about how their society thinks.
    He wasn’t wrong in speaking out, but completely foolish to do so knowing the repercussions. So their education system, their laws, the way they interpret The Holy Book, all need to change. Would his situation be any different if he was in Saudi Arabia? I highly doubt it.