Afghanistan (MNN) ― Compass Direct is reporting additional arrests in Afghanistan as the result of an avalanche of media coverage on the arrest of a Christian convert.
41-year old Abdul Rahman, charged with apostasy, faces the death penalty under the hard-line Islamist control. Since then, Compass has confirmed the arrest of two other Afghan Christians. Because of the sensitive situation, local sources requested that the location of the jailed converts be withheld, but they urge prayer.
Compass can also confirm one young Afghan convert to Christianity who was beaten severely this past weekend outside his home by a group of six men. Several other Afghan Christians have been subjected to police raids on their homes and places of work in the past month, as well as to telephone threats.
With the 'punishments' for abandoning Islam growing in severity, Rahman's case is the local judiciary's first known prosecution case in recent decades, according to Compass.
While no verdict has been handed down, Afghan law permits Rahman two final appeals-- first to the provincial court, and then the Supreme Court.
When his story broke in the international media, a flurry of coverage cast an unfavorable light on the ultra-conservative Muslim country, bringing out more humanitarian questions.
And, while not a direct correlation, the timing of the arrest and specific harassment of other Afghani Christians calls into question a retribution effect.
Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, says, "Pray that he will stand strong in his faith as he has for many years. That he will feel the prayers of Christians from all around the world. And that he will be released and can worship the one true God in freedom along with all Christians in Afghanistan who have been arrested and persecuted.
If you'd like to respond, or get the address to the Embassy of Afghanistan, go to: http://www.opendoorsusa.org.