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Let Karzai kill me: I’ll stay Christian

An Afghan man tortured and under threat of death in the president’s crackdown on converts believes the West is ignoring his plight

ICC Note:

“I don’t care if they crucify me upside down,” Said Musa told The Sunday Times. “My spirit will still be alive. I am only afraid of God. Only he can send my soul to hell.”

By Miles Amoore

2/6/2011 Afghanistan (The Sunday Times) – The prisoners placed a skullcap on Said Musa’s head and mockingly called him Jesus Christ as he languished for month after month in one of Kabul’s squalid prisons.

Fellow inmates and prison guards alike beat him with wooden sticks, kicked him, punched him and spat in his face. Musa also accuses them of sexually abusing him. His crime? Converting to Christianity, for which he faces the death penalty if convicted.

Surly prison guards and secret service agents surrounded Musa, 45, when I met him at a detention centre in Kabul’s police headquarters last week.

He limped into the prison governor’s office on his remaining leg — an anti-personnel mine blew off the other in the early 1990s, when he was serving in the Afghan army — looking haggard and speaking nervously in Dari, the local language. The guards refused to let him talk to me in English.

“The Bible taught me to love my enemies,” he said. “It taught me to turn the other cheek if someone harmed me.”

When a mullah and a judge visited him in his cell, they threatened to execute him in three days if he refused to reconvert. When he declined, the mullah ordered the guards to take “this unclean animal” from his cell and beat him, he recalled.

In desperation, Musa wrote to human rights groups, embassies and US President Barack Obama, begging to be transferred to another prison.

In poor English, Musa wrote: “Prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example they did sexual things with me. Beat me by wood, by hands, by legs.”

Following pressure from the American embassy, the authorities moved Musa to another jail, where he now sleeps in the corridor outside the head guard’s office to avoid further beatings.

He rarely ventures outside into the yard for exercise, afraid of the abuse he will be forced to endure from his fellow inmates. He spends his time listening to the BBC. His requests for a Bible have been refused.

Musa remains adamant that he will die before he denounces Christianity.

“I don’t care if they crucify me upside down,” he said. “My spirit will still be alive. I am only afraid of God. Only he can send my soul to hell.”

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