Afghan Christian faces a judge, but charges unknown

By November 18, 2010

Afghanistan (MNN) — Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting that an Afghan amputee in prison for his Christian faith since May will face a judge this Sunday (November 21, 2010) without legal representation or knowledge of the charges against him, according to local sources.

"Authorities arrested Said Musa, 45, on May 31, 2010, days after the local Noorin TV station broadcast images of Afghan Christians being baptized and worshiping," said the CDN story.

"Though there were other arrests in May and June during the ensuing man-hunt against Christians, Musa is the only known Christian facing a court case."

The story went on to say that turning from Islam is "a capital offense under strict Islamic laws still in place in Afghanistan," which was wrested from the Taliban regime's hard-line Islamist control in 2001.

"In June, authorities forced Musa to renounce Christianity publicly on television but have continued to hold him in prison without revealing accusations against him," CDN added. "In prison, Musa has openly said he is a follower of Jesus. In a hand-delivered letter penned last month to the church worldwide, U.S. President Barack Obama, and the heads of NATO's International Security Assistance Forces, Musa wrote that he was 'physically and verbally abused' by his captors and other prisoners at Ouliat Prison in Kabul."

In his letter, Musa alluded to the lack of justice he faced in prison, saying that the prosecutor had given the judge a false report about him and "demanded a bribe" from the Christian. Local Christians and religious freedom monitors have expressed concern that Musa may be made an example.

"This is kind of a test case to see which law prevails in the country: Sharia [Islamic law] or international agreements," said a Christian religious freedom advocate on condition of anonymity.


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