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Canada presses Afghanistan to spare Christian convert

February 16, 2011
Last week we told you about the plight of Sayed Musa, a Christian convert sentenced to die in Afghanistan. Apostasy remains a capital offense in that country. Writing on behalf of the Canadian bishops, as the chair of their Human Rights Committee, Archbishop Brendan O'Brien of Kingston asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to intervene on Musa's behalf.
In an email response to S+L, Frédéric Maurette from the Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office writes:
Promoting and protecting human rights is a core element of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, and we consistently raise human rights issues such as freedom of religion and freedom of expression with the Government of Afghanistan. Canadian officials continue to monitor Sayed Musa's case, and we have raised our concerns directly with the Government of Afghanistan.  We call on the Government of Afghanistan to respect its international obligations to promote and protect these rights and we look to the Afghan government to uphold the constitutional rights of all its citizens, including religious minorities.
Given the urgency of Musa's situation, worldwide attention risks coming too late. Writing for the National Catholic Register, Matthew Archbold reports that Musa has received less than 100 mentions in the international media. He notes the irony of the American forces -- and, one could add, the Canadian troops -- supporting a government whose minister of justice has condoned the sentence. Archbold also relays this handwritten testimony from Musa, which was published on the Barnabas Aid website:
To the international church of world and to the President Brother Barak Obama President of the United States and to the head of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan!
My name is Sayed Musa 45 years old. I have been working since 15 years as a Physiotherapist in I-C-R-C [International Committee of the Red Cross] orthopaedic centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. About four and a half months before by security force of Afghanistan I [was] captured, due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world. [...]
Since that time I am in jail. The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head, mocked me ‘He's Jesus Christ', spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. Every person spat on me and beat me. Also the prosecutor wrote something wrong against me. He told from himself something wrong against me on my file.
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