Published: 00:00 GMT Standard Time - Tuesday 08 February 2011
Save Afghan converts to Christianity - template letter
Country/Region: Afghanistan, South and East Asia
I am writing to draw to your attention the plight of converts from Islam in Afghanistan, and to request urgent action from the government on their behalf.
Said Musa has been languishing in prison in Kabul since May 2010, accused only of converting from Islam to Christianity. He claims to have been tortured and abused in custody. He is yet to stand trial, and no defense lawyer will represent him. They say the case is hopeless because he refuses to renounce Christianity, or they back out after receiving death threats themselves.
Said’s case is sadly not unique. At least one other Afghan convert to Christianity is in jail facing a possible death sentence, and many others have fled the country. Despite representations from Western governments and others, the Afghan authorities have refused to guarantee their safety. Islamic law, endorsed by the Afghan constitution, requires a death sentence for those who leave Islam.
I am deeply concerned that the government is supporting a regime whose hostility to converts from Islam seems no different from that of the Taliban. I am also disturbed that recent statements from senior ministers, while supporting freedom of speech and worship for all, have failed to affirm the equally basic human right to convert from one religion to another.
I respectfully request you to pursue this issue with the government and urge them to call on the Afghan authorities to honor their commitments to international standards of human rights by releasing from prison all converts from Islam and asserting their right to choose their own faith. I further request that our government also asserts unambiguously its intention to promote that right in every context where it is denied.
Please let me know what response you receive.
Alongside sending a letter to your political representatives, please sign our petition and forward it to others.
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