Afghan Christian Faces Potential Death Sentence for Apostasy
Given One Week to Renounce Christian Faith
Washington, D.C. (January 3, 2011) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a judge has given an Afghan convert from Islam to Christianity a week to renounce his faith, or else be sentenced with the death penalty or up to twenty years’ imprisonment. The verdict is expected this week.
Shoaib Assadullah was arrested on October 21 in Mazar-e-Sharif for giving a Bible to a man who later reported him to local authorities. He is currently in a prison in Mazar-e-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan.
ICC sources closely following the case tell us that at a court hearing on December 28, Assadullah was told to recant Christianity and return to Islam. Another organization spoke to Assadullah on December 31. Assadullah said, “he is quite certain that they [court officials] will give him the death penalty. At his last court appearance, the judge gave him one final week to renounce his faith otherwise he would be hanged or killed for his faith. Shoaib stated he has given his life completely into the hands of Jesus. He said he was so happy for the spiritual fight, saying, ‘Without my faith I would not be able to live’.”
An ICC source in Mazar-e-Sharif was told by a court official today that Assadullah will be summoned to court on January 4 at 10:00 a.m. local time.
Afghanistan is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). According to article 18, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Shoaib Assadullah may be given a death sentence as early as tomorrow if the international community does not act quickly. If Assadullah is executed, his death will signify the failure of the United States and her allies to liberate Afghanistan from the radical ideals of the Taliban after investing millions of dollars to reform the country’s judicial system. We urge the international community to demand the immediate release of Assadullah and to hold Afghanistan accountable to its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Call the Afghanistan embassy in your country to express your concern:
United States: +1 202 483 6410
Canada: +1 613 563 4223
United Kingdom: + 44 207 589 88 91/2
Germany: +49 22 825 1925
France: +33 1 45 25 05 29
Australia: +61 2 62827311 6282/6034
For interviews, contact Aidan Clay, Regional Manager for the Middle East: email@example.com