Afghan Editor Arrested on Charges of 'Un-Islamic' Writing

The editor of an Afghan women's rights magazine was jailed after a presidential adviser accused him of publishing un-Islamic material — including an article critical of the practice of punishing adultery with 100 lashes, officials said Friday.

Minority Shiite Muslim clerics in Kabul objected to that article and another in the monthly Haqooq-i-Zan — or Women's Rights — that argued that giving up Islam (search) was not a crime, Police arrested the magazine's editor, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, on Saturday.

Late last week, the clerics approached Mohaiuddin Baluch, religious adviser to President Hamid Karzai (search), who said he forwarded the magazines to the Supreme Court.

"I took the two magazines and spoke to Supreme Court chief, who wrote to attorney general to investigate," Baluch told The Associated Press. Baluch said the articles were directly against the principles of the Koran (search).

Mohammed Karim, an official at the secretariat of the Supreme Court, said that the attorney general had ordered Nasab's arrest, and that a group of clerics which advises the court was reviewing the case.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (search) called for the immediate release of Nasab, who was visited by an official of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul's Central Jail on Monday.

Afghanistan is a conservative Islamic country. Under a revised March 2004 media law signed by Karzai, content deemed insulting to Islam is banned. Criminal penalties were left vaguely worded, leaving open the possibility of punishment in accordance with Shariah, or Islamic law

The rights group said when the law was signed, government officials said that journalists could only be detained with the approval of a 17-member commission of government officials and journalists.