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Karzai ‘gives pledge’ to save Christian convert from execution
News Telegraph
By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is reported to have given assurances that an Afghan convert to Christianity will not face the death sentence for apostasy.

Mr Karzai is under growing pressure from his western allies to resolve the case of Abdul Rahman.

The case is a difficult one for Mr Karzai, who has to be seen by his allies as a moderniser but who cannot too hastily brush off the views of Afghanistan ‘s many conservatives.

Diplomats in Kabul said the government was searching for a way to drop the case. On Wednesday the authorities said he would undergo psychological examinations to see whether he was fit to stand trial.

Most religious and political figures in the country said the government should ensure that Islamic law was enforced.

“He should be executed,” said Sadullah Abu Aman, a cleric and a member of parliament from the northern Badakhshan province.

“The West should not interfere,” he said.

“It would be better to get no aid or military help from the West for 100 years than accept this affront.”