Monday, February 25, 2008

Four minutes for a death sentence

Last year, Sayad Parvez Kambaksh was sentenced to death in Afghanistan for distributing a paper to his fellow journalism students discussing the role of women in Islam. How long did it take the court to assess the evidence and come to judgement? Four minutes. Four minutes for a death sentence. To call this a travesty is an understatement.

Remember, we are supporting the government which did this. New Zealand has troops in Afghanistan, engaged in reconstruction work. But if the Afghan government does things like this, we should be reconsidering that support. We simply should not be supporting governments which fail to meet basic human rights standards and fundamental standards of justice. We already implicitly have such a policy - there's no question that we would not send troops to prop up the governments of North Korea or Uzbekistan because they fail to meet such standards. We should apply the same policy to Afghanistan.