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article imageAfghans could face death penalty for becoming Christians

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 28, 2010 in World
Kabul - Two Afghans, including a Red Cross employee, could be executed for converting to Christianity, stated a prosecuting lawyer.
Musa Sayed, 45, and Ahmad Shah, 50, are being held and awaiting trial.
They were arrested in May and June, after they were seen on local television, reciting Christian prayers and being baptised inside a house.
"They are accused of conversion to another religion, which is considered a crime under Islamic law. If proved, they face the death penalty or life imprisonment," news.com.au reported that Din Mohammad Quraishi, the prosecutor in charge of western Kabul, told AFP.
Quraishi said Sayed has confessed and there is proof against Shah.
Bijan Frederic Farnoudi, International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman in Kabul, said Sayed had worked for the organisation since 1995 and that representatives have visited him in prison.
The government suspended two aid groups, Norwegian Church Aid and Church World Service of the US, after the television program reported that Sayed and Shah were promoting their beliefs.
The Afghan constitution, adopted after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, forbids conversion from Islam to any other religion, and those found guilty of adopting another religion can be sentenced to death.
It is believed that the last conversion case to be tried in the country is that of Abdul Rahman, who was arrested in 2006 for becoming a Christian. After international attention and human-right protests, he was released and granted refugee status in Italy.
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