Abdul Rahman’s update: charges dropped against him

Looks like the pressure made by a lot of people has succeded:

"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 told AP on condition of anonymity.

"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."

Abdul Wakil Omeri, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, confirmed the case was dismissed because of "problems with the prosecutors' evidence."

"It is the job of the attorney general's office to decide if he is mentally fit to stand trial," he told AP.

Questions are reportedly being raised on whether or not Rahman would stay in Afghanistan, or face exile in another country.

[…] An Afghan Christian in the U.S. who has regular contact with Christians in his home country through his ministry, posted a video clip of Rahman on his website.

Rahman says in the clip, according to Andaryas: "The punishment by hanging? I will accept it gladly, but I am not an infidel. I am not a traitor. I am a follower of Jesus."

These last days, the pressure has come from several fronts. For example, Australian President, John Howard, has linked the fate of Abdul Rahman's to the presence of Australian forces in Afghanistan:

Howard has already written to Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking him to intervene and save the life of Abdul Rahman, condemned to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, and he said Sunday that his government would continue pressuring Kabul over the issue.

“I will not drop off this issue, I will not just be content to write a letter and leave it at that,” he said. “I will continue to press very, very strongly.”

Howard went on to link the case of Rahman, 41, to the deployment of Australian troops who have been fighting Afghanistan’s ousted Taleban regime, a fundamentalist Islamic militia which introduced harsh Sharia law to Afghanistan before being toppled by US-led forces in late 2001.

“I do feel very deeply about this, particularly because there are Australian soldiers risking their lives to fight the Taleban and we’re not fighting the Taleban to allow something like this to happen,” Howard said.

The Pope, that a lot of people were expecting to speak about this issue -including myself-, has also defended the freedom of religion:

Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Afghan president to show clemency towards a man facing possible execution for converting to Christianity. Abdul Rahman has been charged with apostasy, a religious offence.

 

The Vatican said the pontiff had appealed to President Hamid Karzai to respect human rights guarantees enshrined in the Afghan constitution….

The appeal was sent in a letter in Pope Benedict XVI's name by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

The note, excerpts of which were released by the Vatican, said the pope's appeal was inspired by "profound human compassion" and by a "firm belief in the dignity of human life and by respect for every person's freedom of conscience and religion".

Releasing Mr Rahman would "contribute in a most significant way to our common mission to foster mutual understanding and respect among the world's different religions and cultures", it added.

On the other hand, we have had a lot of stupid dhimmies also. The first one, Jack Straw, British FM, who was so quick in speaking against the Danish cartoonists, has been now quiet about this case:

When the row about the Danish cartoons of Mohammed broke, no one was quicker out of the traps than our Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. He roundly condemned what he saw as the irresponsibility of their publication.

It was not clear why Mr Straw felt the need to speak up. Britain has no responsibility for independent, democratic Denmark, nor for the European countries in which the cartoons were republished.

We do, however, bear considerable responsibility for Afghanistan. We helped invade it in 2001 to overthrow the Islamist Taliban government, and ever since then we have helped rebuild government and society there, including the framing of a new constitution. The other day, we sent yet more troops to help keep the uneasy peace. We boast, with some justice, that we have set Afghanistan free.

So the news that a Muslim is threatened with death by an Afghan court simply because he converted to Christianity should surely alarm Mr Straw. So far – and the case has been in the press for more than a week – we have heard nothing audible from him. President Bush has said he is "deeply troubled" by the case. Condoleezza Rice and many European governments have put strong pressure on the Afghan authorities to release the man, Abdul Rahman, citing Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes, in its definition of freedom of conscience, the right to change one's faith.

But Britain's mighty response has been left to one of Mr Straw's juniors at the Foreign Office, Kim Howells. Mr Howells has sought "urgent clarification" from Kabul.

It may provide Mr Howells with some of the clarification that he needs to point out that Mr Rahman's case was predictable. Islamic law (sharia) is enshrined in the new Afghan constitution. All the four schools of law in the majority Sunni Islam agree that the penalty for "apostasy" – abandoning one's Muslim faith – must be death. One states: "When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatises from Islam, he deserves to be killed" and recommends that, when he is killed, he should be "neither given a bath, nor any funeral prayer". Much the same applies in Shia Islam.

Looks like some cartoons are more valuable than one person's life. Well, Spanish Government is even worse because they haven't mentioned it, although there are Spanish soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Of course, there are also people who are thinking the Rahman's conversion is just a consequence of a Jewish conspiracy:

Another cleric, Ayatullah Asife Muhseni, told a gathering of preachers and intellectuals at a Kabul hotel that the Afghan president had no right to overturn the punishment of an apostate.

He also demanded that clerics be able to question Rahman in jail to discover why he had converted to Christianity. He suggested it could have been the result of a conspiracy by Western nations or Jews.

Well, that would be the poorest of all conspiracies, because the Jews would have achieved a convert to Christianity, not to Judaism. It would certainly be extraordinary. And above all, it is so inimaginable to be a convert to Christianity, hein?

Lastly, I want you to read an article from International Herald Tribune, whose title is: ""Execution of apostates rare in Islamic nations". It's very curious to read: looks like as if it's good that they kill sometimes because of being apostates.

UPDATE: BUT Rahman's is not the only one. You can read here or in general Afghan Times. So we have to ask: are they punishing the authors of these actions? If not, we can say that the Judges are as resposible for that as the killers.

A Lady's Ruminations has also a very good post on the subject. She asks what will be Rahman's situation and how secure he will be. Also The Rolling Barrage asks several questions -very important questions in fact-:

1. Will there be upcoming charges against anyone expressing a minority religious, or non-religious, view?

2. How will the populace respond? Islamic clerics are of the opinion
he is in peril. If so, are the clerics to blame for that danger?

3. Will there be a reaction against the US forces in Afghanistan?

Well, I would change the 3rd question to "Will there be ANY reaction to the Coalition Forces in Iraq?

4 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan

4 responses to “Abdul Rahman’s update: charges dropped against him

  1. Thanks for the link! Great post—so thorough!

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