2006/03/24

Kabul Judge Rejects Calls to End Trial of Christian Convert

The Kabul judge presiding over the trial of the Afghan man facing death for converting from Islam to Christianity said Thursday that he would resist any interference, despite mounting international condemnation.

Although President Karzai has apparently been giving assurances to western leaders that the Afghan Christian, Abdul Rahman, will not be executed, Ansarullah Maulavi Zada, the judge who heads the public security tribunal in Kabul, said, "There is no direct pressure on our court so far, but if it happens we will consider it interference."

As the New York Times put it,"For Mr. Karzai, the case traps him squarely between his Western backers and Afghanistan's conservative religious council, the Ulema, an important source of domestic support.

"The international community is saying you must stop this," said Barnett R. Rubin, a New York University professor and expert on Afghanistan. "The Ulema is saying, 'Are you an Islamic ruler?' "

"Maulavi Muhaiuddin Baloch, Mr. Karzai's adviser on religious affairs, said that the case belonged in the court and that Afghanistan's judiciary was independent.

"Fazil Ahmad Manawi, a former deputy chief justice, said: "It is a dilemma for Afghan courts. The international community's presence in Afghanistan, with military and financial support on one hand and the prestige of Afghan courts and religious people of Afghanistan on another hand, makes the issue very difficult."

2 comments:

Tom said...

It will be interesting to see how Karzai navigates through this minefield to free Rahman yet keep the clerics calm.

Peter White said...

If Rahman is convicted the lid will blow off Afghanistan.