Twenty-four-year-old Sayed Pervez Kambakhsh was condemned in a hasty northern Afghan trial in January 2008 to die in connection with his purported distribution of an article on women's rights under Islam. He had no counsel and little information about the charges against him.
"The Independent" wrote:
Kambakhsh and his relatives have said the case was the result of a vendetta by a local warlord.
His sentence had been commuted to 20 years in prison in October 2008, but President Hamid Karzai had faced strong pressure from rights and journalist advocates as well as foreign governments to intervene in the case.
The timing suggests Karzai, who has seen his popularity flag in the face of perceived corruption and security setbacks, was reluctant to act ahead of his reelection bid against Abdullah Abdullah and other challengers on August 20. Karzai reportedly leads the vote count but would need an outright majority to avoid a runoff amid sharp criticism of the balloting.