Protest against dropping of convert case
Protestors said Rahman should be hanged according to Islamic law, which says a person who converts away from Islam should be hanged.india Updated: Mar 27, 2006 17:56 IST
Around 200 men demonstrated in a northern Afghan city on Monday against a court decision not to proceed with the trial of a man facing execution for becoming a Christian.
The men, mostly students and mullahs from a local Islamic school, condemned Western "interference" in the case against jailed convert Abdul Rahman and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Bush".
They said Rahman should be hanged according to Islamic Sharia law, which says that a person who converts away from Islam should be put to death unless they revert.
The case has sparked a storm of protest in the United States and other nations. Afghanistan relies on foreign help to rebuild after years of war and to deal with a deadly insurgency led by remnants of the Taliban regime ousted in 2001.
Some of the demonstrators shouted, "Foreign countries and the West do not have the right to interfere in Afghanistan's affairs, the Afghan judiciary."
"We want Islamic Sharia implemented, we want him executed."
Protestor Ghulam Farook, 22, said: "No Muslim has the right to convert to Christianity or he will face death penalty according to Islamic Sharia."
Police monitored the one-hour gathering.
The Supreme Court said Sunday it would not proceed with the trial against Rahman, 41, after testimony from his relatives suggesting he was mentally disturbed. He also said he heard voices, a court official said.
The court referred the case back to the attorney general's office which on Monday ordered that mental tests be carried out on the convert, who is being held in a maximum security jail on the outskirts of Kabul.
The government does not want to alienate its allies but is under pressure in this conservative country to uphold Islamic law, on which the Afghan constitution is partly based.