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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 21, 2006 01:31 PM

***scroll for updates***

Italy and Germany have raised their voices:

Italy has joined with Germany in protesting a death threat reportedly hanging over an Afghan who became a Christian in Germany and is now charged under Afghanistan’s religious laws .

The sharia laws, which rule many Muslim countries, forbid conversion to other religions on pain of death .

Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini on Tuesday said Italy would raise the case of Abdul Rahman with the Afghan ambassador in Rome, European Union diplomatic representatives in Afghanistan and EU human rights bodies .

Fini said he would voice to the ambassador “the thorough disapproval” of the Italian government if there was a “possibility” of Rahman being sentenced to death. Italy is the de facto EU diplomatic chief in Afghanistan because Austria, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, does not have a mission there .

Italy has some 2,000 troops in the 10,000-strong NATO-led International Security and Assistance force (ISAF), which began peacekeeping operations in and near Kabul a year after a US-led coalition drove out the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime in 2002 .

Rome held ISAF’s six-month rotating command until last month. It is leading the reconstruction of the Afghan judicial system and has also contributed to other reconstruction projects such as roads, hospitals and schools .

Germany said Tuesday it would appeal directly to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and “do everything in its power” to save the life of Rahman, who returned home from Germany when the Taliban was overthrown.

President Bush had nothing to say about the case today at his press conference.

And no member of the White House press corps thought to ask.


Reader Daniel H. e-mails:

After reading your post I got off my duff and made a call to the Afghan embassy in Washington: (202)483-6410. After being put on hold for 3 minutes an embassy staffer got on. I explained to him that I think that the prosecution and threats against Abdul Rahman’s life are outrageous and that
if he is executed this will have severe consequences for Afghan-U.S.

Maybe believeing that I am someone important, someone with clout he was very apologetic, agreeing with my point, dismayed over what is happening, insisting that this is not the EMBASSY’s policy, that freedom of conscience and religion ought to be respected. Now this is where it gets interesting/scary/encouraging: he said that he had been on the phone with Kabul, with someone in their foreign ministry, about this and that this person said something to the effect of “What is wrong with you? Aren’t you a good Muslim. The man deserves it (meaning death).”

The embassy staffer said that he tried to reason with the Kabul official, and he once again asserted his own opinion that this prosecution is unjust and barbaric. I thanked him for his time and suggested he contact the American media about this and make his efforts known.

Now this conversation with the embassy staffer tells me a few things: 1)there are people in Kabul who are serious about prosecuting and executing Rahman, 2) this probably is not the opinion of the people in the Washington embassy, 3) the people in the Washington embassy are sensitive to pressure and will get the message through to people in Kabul (even if our own president and state department won’t), 4) that concerned people should call the Afghan embassy in Washington and let it be known, without ambiguity, that if this man, Abdul Rahman, is harmed then the caller will do all that is possible to see the end of U.S. involvment in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and we will let the chips fall as they will. So, the short of it: Abdul Rahman’s life is in serious danger.

You and everybody else can do something by calling the Afghan embassy – here is the phone number (202) 483-6410, please post it on your site; be polite but let them know that if Rahman is not freed and his life secured then this will be the end of your, the caller’s, support for U.S. involvment with Afghanistan and you the caller will do everything possible to bring the end of this support about.

Oh, and when I called the White House and the State Department all I could
get was a recording. I suggest that callers contact their Senators (particularly Democratic ones; they will delight in making Bush and Rice squirm, but, hey, a life is at stake so I don’t care about their, the Democratic Senator’s, motives. Saving the life of Rahman and others like him is what counts.)

Thanks for providing the info.

Debbie Schlussel e-mails:

After reading the letter from your reader, I, too, called the Afghani Embassy. The man I spoke with said that they got 50 calls about this today, and that they have no authority to save the man. They said there are only two people who can stop this: Mr. Shinwari, the Chief Justice, who is an old man and an intolerant Taliban remnant; or President Karzai, who can–but has not–removed him. Nice to know that all our soldiers’ efforts and U.S. funds are being negated by a powerful remnant of the Taliban, not (why?) replaced by Karzai.

Evening update:

Our State Department – Lame as ever.


“We will cut him into little pieces”
Save Abdul Rahman
A Christian on trial

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