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Venue Changed For Appeal By Afghan Journalist On Death Row

KABUL -- An appeal by a journalism student sentenced to death in northern Afghanistan on blasphemy charges has been transferred to Kabul in order to ensure a fair hearing, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Afghan Attorney-General Abdul Jabar Sabet announced the change of venue in Kabul on February 27, saying that further proceedings would take place in open court.

Sayed Pervez Kambakhsh was sentenced to death last month by a local court in Mazar-e Sharif after he printed and handed out an Internet article that questioned interpretations of what the Koran says about the role of women in Islam. An Iranian expatriate in Western Europe originally wrote the article.

Kambakhsh says his closed-door trial lasted only four minutes before he was declared guilty and sentenced to death. He says he was not allowed to have an attorney nor to speak in his own defense.