03/28/2006, 00.00
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Released Afghan convert asks for asylum abroad

Kabul (AsiaNews) - Abdul Rahman, the Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting to Christianity from Islam, has been set free. Rahman was released during the night from Pul-e-Charki, the maximum security prison where he was being detained, and his present whereabouts are unknown.

The deputy Attorney General, Mohammed Eshak Aloko, said Rahman was released after he was declared to be "mentally unstable and unfit to stand trial".

Yesterday, the UN spokesman in Kabul said Rahman, who converted to the Christian faith 16 years ago, had asked for asylum in a third country.

Abdul Rahman, whose conversion to Christianity was denounced by his relatives, risked being sentenced to death by an Islamic court, in line with Muslim tradition.

Many governments, and Pope Benedict XVI himself, called on President Hamid Karzai to spare the man's life. Karzai had promised not to inflict the death penalty on calling for his execution.

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See also
Afghan convert reaches Italy
Government says justice must decide Christian convert's fate
Two Muslims accused of blasphemy murdered in two days
Blog devoted to Abdul Rahman, where Christians and Muslims can talk
Three death sentences for August 2005 bombings


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