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SAYED Pervez Kambaksh, 24, the Afghan student sentenced to death for the “crime” of promoting women’s rights, has been freed.

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh
Sayed Pervez Kambaksh

But in the same week that he gained his freedom, Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese journalist who was among 13 women arrested for wearing trousers on July 3 in a raid by the public order police in Khartoum, has received a month’s jail sentence.
Ten of the women were fined and flogged two days later.
Kambaksh’s death sentence for downloading information on women’s rights from the internet caused world-wide outrage. A petition to secure justice for him attracted more than 100,000 signatures, and the Afghan government came under intense pressure from the international community to release him.
The Independent has learned that he is now living outside the country after being secretly pardoned by President Karzai.
Kambaksh was moved from his cell in Kabul’s main prison a fortnight ago and kept at a secure location for a few days before being flown out of the country. Prior to his departure, he spoke of how his relief was mixed with deep regret at knowing he was unlikely to see his family or country again.
Hardline Islamists, including a number of political figures close to the government of President Karzai, have repeatedly called for Mr Kambaksh’s execution and were fiercely critical when an appeal court reduced the original death sentence to 20 years’ imprisonment. One senior diplomatic source said:
The danger is very real and we are well aware that there will be a reaction when it becomes clear that Pervez had gone. It was imperative he was safely out of the way before attempts could be made to block that.
The Kambaksh case has highlighted how human rights gains have been eroded since the fall of the Taliban eight years ago. Although Mr Kambaksh has found refuge thousands of miles away, he will have to live the rest of his life in fear of retribution.
Kambaksh was originally arrested in October 2007 after some students and staff at his university in Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of the country accused him of disseminating material on women’s rights which “insulted Islam”. He was charged with blasphemy and sentenced to death at a trial three months later. He told The Independent from his cell in Balkh prison that a “confession” had been beaten out of him and he had not been allowed legal representation or allowed to speak during the four-minute hearing behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, we learn from the Telegraph that  Lubna Hussein, the Sudanese woman convicted of violating public indecency laws by wearing trousers outdoors has been jailed for refusing to pay a 500 Sudanese pound (£130) fine imposed by a court in Khartoum.
Lubna Hussein
Lubna Hussein

Hussein elected to be tried for her “crime” rather than submit to an instant flogging and a fine, and her case, which received international attention – and proved a major embarrassment to the Sudanese authorities – came to court yesterday
The court spared Mrs Hussein, who has promised she will appeal against any conviction, a flogging for wearing “indecent” trousers, but instead fined her.
But Hussein remained defiant.

I won’t pay. I’d rather go to prison.

Speaking as they emerged from the court hearing which was barred to the press, witnesses said the court had ruled that Hussein be jailed for a month if she failed to pay the fine.
Under Sudanese law, she could have been sentenced to a maximum of 40 lashes for “indecency” under Islamic principles.
Women in trousers are not a rare sight in Sudan, but the authorities can take offence at trousers which reveal too much of a woman’s shape, leading to accusations from rights groups that judgement is arbitrary.