Afghan parliament demands Christian convert not be allowed to leave country

[JURIST] Afghanistan's parliament on Wednesday demanded that government officials block Abdul Rahman [Wikipedia profile], the Afghan man who faced the death penalty [JURIST report] for converting from Islam to Christianity, from seeking asylum in another country. Parliamentary speaker Yunus Qanooni told reporters that a letter was sent to the Interior Ministry on behalf of the entire parliament demanding Rahman not be allowed to leave Afghanistan. Rahman was released from prison [JURIST report] earlier after questions about his mental health were raised and he is believed to still be in country.

Also Wednesday, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said that Italy would offer asylum to Rahman [AP report]. Berlusconi's comments came before a cabinet meeting where the government was expected to vote to grant Rahman asylum. Reuters has more.

10:50 AM ET - An official from the Italian embassy in Kabul said Wednesday that Rahman has left Afghanistan and is expected to arrive in Italy by Wednesday evening. BBC News has more.

3/30/06 9:18 AM ET - Berlusconi has confirmed that Rahman received asylum in Italy late Wednesday evening and Italy's Interior Ministry has said that Rahman is "under protection." AP has more.

 

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