Sunday, March 26, 2006
AP: Afghan court drops Christian convert case
By DANIEL COONEY, Associated Press Writer -- Sunday, 57 minutes ago
KABUL, Afghanistan - A court on Sunday dismissed the case against an Afghan man facing possible execution for converting from Islam to Christianity, officials said, paving the way for his release.
Abdul Rahman, the Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity, is interviewed during a hearing in Kabul in this image made available from TV footage on Sunday, March 26, 2006. Rahman who faced a possible death sentence for converting is to be freed after a court Sunday dismissed the case against him, citing a lack of evidence, officials said. (AP Photo/ Ariana Television via AP Television News)
The move eased pressure from the West but raised the dilemma of protecting Abdul Rahman after his release as Islamic clerics have called for him to be killed.
One official said freedom might come as soon as Monday for Rahman, who became a Christian in the 1990s while working for an aid group in neighboring Pakistan.
Muslim extremists, who have demanded death for Rahman as an apostate for rejecting Islam, warned the decision would touch off protests across this religiously conservative country. Some clerics previously vowed to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if he was let go.
Rahman was moved to Kabul's notorious high-security Policharki prison Friday after inmates at a jail in central Kabul threatened him, Policharki's warden, Gen. Shahmir Amirpur, said.
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.and others insisted protect personal beliefs.
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