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Afghan Newspaper Urges Release Of Christian Convert

(RFE/RL) March 26, 2006 -- An Afghan newspaper today called for the release of a man facing the death penalty for converting to Christianity, saying Afghanistan cannot confront the international community over the issue.

The editorial in "Outlook Afghanistan" was the first public call in Afghanistan for the release of Abdul Rahman, following a clamor from religious conservatives for him to be tried under Islamic law for abandoning Islam. He faces possible execution if he is convicted.

It comes after Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking that charges be dropped against the Christian convert.

Government officials were in talks today with religious conservatives in a bid to find a way out of the impasse.

(dpa, Reuters, AP)

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