Jailed Afghan Christian Convert Moved
POLICHARKI, Afghanistan , March 26
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(CBS/AP) An Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity has been moved to a notorious maximum-security prison outside Kabul that is also home to hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda militants, officials said Sunday.
Abdul Rahman, was moved to Policharki Prison last week after detainees threatened his life at an overcrowded police holding facility in central Kabul , a court official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
Gen. Shahmir Amirpur, who is in charge of Policharki, confirmed the move and said Rahman had been begging his guards to give him a Bible.
Karzai and several Cabinet ministers on Saturday discussed Rahman’s case, an official at Karzai’s palace said. But she declined to comment on the outcome of the talks.
Hours earlier, another official said Rahman “could be released soon.” Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.
But clerics have questioned Karzai’s authority to order Rahman’s release and have warned of a possible revolt if he tries.
“The Quran is very clear and the words of our prophet are very clear. There can only be one outcome: death,” said cleric Khoja Ahmad Sediqi, who is also a member of the Supreme Court. “If Karzai releases him, it will play into the hands of our enemy and there could be an uprising.”
Authorities have barred journalists from seeing the 41-year-old defendant at a rundown central Kabul detention facility, where prisoners are packed into tiny, overcrowded cells and often rely on food handouts from relatives.
Legal experts have said the case against Rahman is based on contradictory laws.
Afghanistan ‘s constitution is based on Shariah law, which states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
But the constitution adds that “the state shall abide by the … Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Article 18 of the declaration guarantees the freedom to worship and to “change” religion or belief.