[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Mar 23 09:54:39 EST 2006
Afghans seek to avoid convert's death penalty
The government of Afghanistan is trying to find a way to avoid handing
down a death penalty to a man who converted from Islam to Christianity,
sources said Wednesday.
A top government official and an official from the presidential palace
both said that Abdul Rahman, 42, would not be put to death for his
religious conversion. The government is trying to find a graceful way out
of a sensitive situation, perhaps by saying that Rahman is mentally ill
and cannot stand trial.
The Afghan Embassy in Washington announced on Wednesday that the country's
judicial system is evaluating Rahman's mental fitness, the result of which
could end the court proceedings.
"That would be some kind of face-saving measure for the government," said
the government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of
the sensitivity of the matter.
A state prosecutor told The Associated Press on Wednesday that there were
questions about the mental state of Rahman, whose trial started a week
ago. "We think he could be mad," Sarinwal Zamari said.
The case of Rahman, who converted to Christianity while living overseas,
is a challenge for the government and could prompt a constitutional
crisis. Afghanistan's constitution guarantees freedom of religion but it
also says that Afghanistan is an Islamic country and that nothing can go
The Bush administration has asked Afghanistan to let Rahman practice his
faith in safety.
Rahman was arrested after going to a police station in early February
because of a family dispute.
(source: Chicago Tribune)
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