Afghanistan Drops Case Against Christian Convert An Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has been released from prison after the case was dropped. The United Nations says it's trying to find a country willing to take him. Muslim clerics have called for the man to be killed. Renee Montagne talks with the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder.
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Afghanistan Drops Case Against Christian Convert

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Afghanistan Drops Case Against Christian Convert

Afghanistan Drops Case Against Christian Convert

Afghanistan Drops Case Against Christian Convert

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An Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has been released from prison after the case was dropped. The United Nations says it's trying to find a country willing to take him. Muslim clerics have called for the man to be killed. Renee Montagne talks with the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Hello.

SANJOY MAJUMDER: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: What has been the reaction there to Rahman's release? Protests?

MAJUMDER: Well, news of the release is just trickling in. The whole operation has been kept very secret. Mr. Rahman was released late last night, Monday night from a prison that he was kept in on the outskirts of Kabul. The media were kept well away. Clearly, the administration was concerned about how this was going to play out domestically. They wanted no images of Mr. Rahman leaving the prison. He's now in the custody of Justice Ministry officials, while the U.N. and the Afghan government decides what they can do with him.

MONTAGNE: And what finally led to the decision to free Rahman? Given all the pressure, what was the key thing?

MAJUMDER: But these are technical reasons. And many people here believe that the real reason behind the release is the intense pressure that the government found itself under. Much of the criticism that poured in from the West, from the United States and other NATO countries, are from countries who have committed troops on the ground in Afghanistan, so in some measure, are protecting the Afghan government. And the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai effectively had to move very quickly to contain any damage that he may have suffered internationally.

MONTAGNE: Will this put him, President Karzai, in rather difficult position? What? Appearing to bow to international pressure?

MAJUMDER: But there are others who believe that nothing was served by carrying this case forward. They believe Abdul Rahman should have been freed, and the case shouldn't have come up in the first place. And certainly, the president would be hoping that public opinion stays, stays that way.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much.

MAJUMDER: Thank you.

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