U.S. Commander Urged To Help Free Detained Afghan Christians

Friday, December 17, 2010 | Tag Cloud

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (Worthy News)-- Human rights campaigners on Friday, December 17, urged the U.S. commander in war-torn Afghanistan, David Petraeus, to pressure the Afghan government to release two detained Christians who face the death penalty for "apostasy", or abandoning Islam.

Sayed Mossa was detained May 31 for being a Muslim convert to Christianity and Shoib Assadullah was arrested October 21 for giving a New Testament Bible to a man who later reported him to local authorities, Christians and trial observers said.

"Both became victims of a government-led crackdown against Christians in Afghanistan, ignited when Afghan network Noorin TV stirred anti-Christian sentiment by broadcasting footage of Christian converts being baptized," explained advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC), which has closely monitored the case.

BosNewsLife earlier published a letter from Mossa in which he complained about ill treatment in prison.

TRIED FOR APOSTASY

"Mossa and Assadullah will likely be tried for apostasy, a charge which may warrant the death sentence under Islamic law,"  ICC said.

Neither has received legal representation or equal protection, ICC and other trial observers told BosNewsLife.

ICC said it is "petitioning" General Petraeus "to engage the Afghan government and demand the immediate release of Mossa and Assadullah."

Afghanistan, it added, "must be held accountable to the international human rights agreements" they are bound to. "If Mossa or Assadullah are executed, their cases - which exemplify the freedoms of all Afghans - will be remembered among the darkest blotches of the U.S.-led war initiative to liberate Afghanistan," ICC said.

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