Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
Today's guest host was Margaret Evans.
It's Thursday, June 26th.
After the abrupt departure of Maxime Bernier, the cabinet post of minister of foreign affairs was officially handed over to David Emerson in a ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Currently, to distance himself from Bernier, Emerson attended the ceremony wearing his Bandidos colours.
This is The Current.
Afghan Journalist Criminal Case
A 23-year-old Afghan journalism student named Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh was sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif in January 2008. That court found him guilty of downloading information that criticized the treatment of women under some interpretations of Islam. He was also accused of adding his own comments and distributing the text. Kambaksh denied the charges appealed to the Afghan Supreme Court.
The case raised serious concerns about freedom of expression in Afghanistan and the intended reform of the country's judicial system. One of the writers employed by Jean MacKenzie, Program Director of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Kabul who advocated on behalf of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, is Kambakhsh's brother. She believed that this brother's investigative journalism may have played a role in Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh's troubles. Jean MacKenzie joined us from Kabul.
Afghan Minister of Justice
With the death sentence hanging over Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, concerns over the Afghan government's commitment to reforming the country's legal system grew in the international community. Mohammad Qasim Hashimzai, Deputy Minister of Justice for Afghanistan, was one of the people responsible for that reform. He joined us from Kabul.
If this case was just one example of justice in Afghanistan, it can hardly have been what J. Alexander Theer had in mind when he helped draft the country's constitution. But he's not sure it's a good idea for the western nations to try to force change from the outside either. Theer was a legal advisor to the country's Constitutional and Judicial Reform Commission and, when we reached him, was the Senior Legal Advisor with the Rule of Law program at the United States Institute of Peace.
Listen to Part One:
Good Morning Beirut (Documentary)
In the almost two decades following the end of Lebanon's civil war, the capital, Beirut, has hardly been a peaceful place. Politicians were assassinated. Journalists and civilians were targeted and killed and entire parts of the city were wiped out by Israeli bombing during the 2006 war. The country was also bitterly divided between a pro-western coalition backed by Washington and the pro-Syrian supporters of the powerful Shia group Hezbollah; those tensions keeping that ever present fear of a return to civil war alive.
Many people fled the uncertainty of the country and it's capital over the years, but a core group refused to give up on the city. We presented a documentary produced by freelance journalist Andrew Mills called "Good Morning Beirut" which aired on The Current in April 2008, a month before Lebanese President Michel Suleiman was sworn into office -- ending almost 2 years of political stalemate.
Listen to Part Two: