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Afghan Christian convert’s case may be the subject of a U.S. meeting

By Mindy Belz

12/2/10 Afghanistan (World) – The case of Afghan Sayed Mossa, who has been in a Kabul jail since May 31 allegedly for converting from Islam to Christianity, will be the subject of a meeting between Gen. David Petraeus and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to legal counsel who arrived in Kabul this week to assist the 45-year-old Mossa.

According to those close to the case, the judge in the case notified a legal representative on Sunday that Mossa’s file had been “rejected” or suspended and would be sent to the attorney general’s office for further action. But the same day the prosecutor in charge of western Kabul, Din Mohammad Quraishi, told Agence France Presse that Mossa and another prisoner, Ahmad Shah, are being detained and charged with apostasy: “They are accused of conversion to another religion, which is considered a crime under Islamic law. If proved, they face the death penalty or life imprisonment.”

According to the report, Quraishi said Mossa had “confessed” to his conversion and there was “proof” against Shah. But Mossa has accused Shah of being one of his “tormenters” in jail and a spy. Meanwhile, Shah claims to be Muslim and wants to defend himself at trial, Quraishi said.

Mossa is not the only Christian detained without formal charges. Shoib Assadullah was reportedly arrested on Oct. 21 in Mazar-e-Sharif, according to International Christian Concern (ICC), after he had given a New Testament Bible to a man who later reported him to local authorities. He is currently in a holding jail in northern Afghanistan. According to a Westerner following that case who spoke to ICC, Shoib’s case is also going through the courts.

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