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Afghan Christian flees to Europe

ICC Note:

Said Musa, an Afghan Christian who was imprisoned nine months for his conversion to Christianity, is now safe with his family in Europe.

3/19/2011 Afghanistan (AFP) – An Afghan Red Cross worker who was jailed and faced a possible death sentence for converting to Christianity has fled the country after being freed, friends and Christian charities said Saturday.

Friends of Musa Sayed, a 45-year-old father of six who converted to Christianity six years ago, told AFP he was released without trial in late February after nine months in jail.

“Musa Sayed was released at the end of February. He has gone abroad, to Europe,” said friends of Sayed, who worked for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).

The friends, who did not wish to be named, said they had been unwilling to speak earlier for fear Sayed’s family would be targeted, but added that they had recently left Afghanistan to join him.

A third Afghan Christian, 23-year-old Shoaib Asadullah, remains in jail in the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif after he was arrested last year, and has complained of ill-treatment and even death threats from fellow prisoners.

Sayed’s case and others like it have prompted protests from Christian groups worldwide.

Sayed’s release came shortly after NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen came out publicly to support him and urge the Afghan authorities to respect his human rights.

The office of the Afghan attorney general refused to confirm or deny that Sayed had been released, but several Christian organisations, among them International Christian Concern, said it was true.

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