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Afghanistan clerics lead protest against release of Christian convert

[JURIST] Several hundred people led by Islamic clerics protested in Afghanistan Monday against the suggested release of a man who converted from Islam to Christianity. The religious leaders called for Abdul Rahman [Wikipedia profile] to be tried under Islamic sharia law [CFR backgrounder] which imposes the death penalty for anyone guilty of apostasy, or "abandonment of the faith." The protests were prompted by reports from Afghan officials Sunday which indicated that Rahman may be freed after a judge ruled there was not sufficient evidence to proceed [JURIST report] in the case against the convert.

Meanwhile, the lead prosecutor in the case against Rahman [JURIST report] said he will undergo a mental examination [Reuters report] Monday, and analysts believe the charges will be dropped if he is found to be mentally unstable. Rahman has denied any mental issues but Afghan authorities may be seeking a quiet way to abandon the case amidst political pressure from Western governments [JURIST report] to release him. AP has more; from the Middle East, Aljazeera has local coverage.

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