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Afghan Christian Convert Has Now Disappeared


From the DNC’s Associated Press:

Supreme court judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada holds a copy of Bible that belongs to Abdur Rahman, who converted from Islam to Christianity.

Afghan Convert Vanishes After Release

By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity quickly vanished Tuesday after he was released from prison, apparently out of fear for his life with Muslim clerics still demanding his death.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said he would ask his government to grant Abdul Rahman asylum. Fini was among the first to speak out on the man’s behalf.

Rahman, 41, was released from the high-security Policharki prison on the outskirts of Kabul late Monday, Afghan Justice Minister Mohammed Sarwar Danish told The Associated Press.

"We released him last night because the prosecutors told us to," he said. "His family was there when he was freed, but I don’t know where he was taken."

Deputy Attorney-General Mohammed Eshak Aloko said prosecutors had issued a letter calling for Rahman’s release because "he was mentally unfit to stand trial." He also said he did not know where Rahman had gone after being released.

He said Rahman may be sent overseas for medical treatment.

On Monday, hundreds of clerics, students and others chanting "Death to Christians!" marched through the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif to protest the court decision Sunday to dismiss the case. Several Muslim clerics threatened to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if he is freed, saying that he is clearly guilty of apostasy and deserves to die.

"Abdul Rahman must be killed. Islam demands it," said senior Cleric Faiez Mohammed, from the nearby northern city of Kunduz. "The Christian foreigners occupying Afghanistan are attacking our religion."

Rahman was arrested last month after police discovered him with a Bible during a custody dispute over his two daughters. He was put on trial last week for converting 16 years ago while he was a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He faced the death penalty under Afghanistan’s Islamic laws.

The case set off an outcry in the United States and other nations that helped oust the hard-line Taliban regime in late 2001 and provide aid and military support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. President Bush and others had insisted Afghanistan protect personal beliefs.

If he never re-appears, I think it will be clear how the clerics really decided this.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 28th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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