Sunday, March 26, 2006
Abdul Rahman to be Released in Religious Conversion Trial.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's post detailing this case, it appears that Abdul Rahman, the former Muslim who converted to Christianity, and who was on trial for his life in Afghanistan, will apparently be released from jail tomorrow after the court presiding over the case returned a verdict of insufficient evidence to prosecute. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:
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.
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.
A Supreme Court spokesman, Abdul Wakil Omeri, said the case had been dismissed because of "problems with the prosecutors' evidence." He said several of Rahman's relatives testified he is mentally unstable and prosecutors have to "decide if he is mentally fit to stand trial."
Another Afghan official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that the court ruled there was insufficient evidence and returned the case to prosecutors for further investigation. But he said Rahman would be released in the meantime.
"The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly comment on the case. "The decision about his release will be taken possibly tomorrow," the official added. "They don't have to keep him in jail while the attorney general is looking into the case."
This is certainly good news for Mr. Rahman. However, it is best to keep in mind that the issue of religious tolerance in this region is far from solved simply because a high-profile case happened to break the right way. This subject is a fascinating one in that it almost never involves the mention of science and logic, but rather depends mostly on invoking emotion and superstition, and that is where I get off this arcade ride of hypocrisy, double-talk and outright lies.
Unfortunately there are very powerful people in the world who control the discourse in these matters, and until they decide to give up their superstitions in favor of science and logic to guide their policies, we will all continue to suffer at the results of their ignorant acts.