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Afghanistan says court will rule whether Christian convert faces death penalty

[JURIST] The government of Afghanistan said Wednesday that a court would rule on whether Abdul Rahman, accused of converting to Christianity, will face the death penalty for his conversion. Under Islamic law, apostasy is a capital offense. The case against him [JURIST report] has shocked many members of the international community, including the US [VOA report], and has prompted former Italian President Francesco Cossiga to call for the withdrawal of Italian troops from the country if the trial continues. The Afghan embassy in Washington, DC has received hundreds of messages about the case as well.

The outcry has caused problems for Afghanistan leader Hamid Karzai [BBC profile], who depends on the support of international troops [NATO ISAF website] to maintain stability in the country. Reuters has more. To complicate matters even further, prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari said [AP report] Wednesday that some question has been raised as to Rahman's mental fitness to stand trial.

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