De Gucht demands an explanation
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht has summoned the Afghan Ambassador after a journalist was given the death sentence by a local court
The Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) has summoned the Afghan Ambassador after a journalist was given the death sentence by a court in the Central Asian country.
23-year-old Perwez Kambakhsh was sentenced to death last week after having been found guilty of "insulting Islam".
He was arrested in 2007 after downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.
A primary court in Balkh province said that Kambakhsh had confessed to blasphemy and had to be punished.
The court also threatened to arrest any reporters who protested against Kambakhsh's sentence.
Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht has expressed his displeasure at the death sentence to the Afghan Ambassador to Belgium.
Not only the "unacceptable nature of the conviction" but also the fact that the trial took place behind closed doors give particular cause for concern.
The Afghan Ambassador to Belgium has responded by saying that his country's government is also concerned about the journalist. He added that Mr Kambakhsh has appealed against his sentence.