Abdul Rahman Seeks Asylum

Abdul Rahman is seeking asylum in a new country:

An Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has appealed for asylum in another country, the United Nations said Monday.

U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards said the world body was working with the Afghan government to meet the request by Abdul Rahman, 41.

“Mr. Rahman has asked for asylum outside Afghanistan,” he said. “We expect this will be provided by one of the countries interested in a peaceful solution to this case.”

Earlier, hundreds of people protested a court’s decision Sunday to drop the case against Rahman, and an official said discussions were underway to determine when he would be released.

Officials said the case was dropped partially because of concerns that Rahman is mentally unfit to face trial. The move also followed strong pressure from Western governments.

Prosecutors have said they want doctors to examine Rahman, but they have not confirmed that he would be released. Prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari said state attorneys were working on the case Monday and an announcement would be made later in the day.

An Afghan official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that Rahman would be released, but authorities were debating how and when it would be done.

Because our government was slow to respond, it should be the first to offer him asylum. The leaders of Germany, Italy, Canada, and Australia were the first countries to express outrage about Mr. Rahman’s prosecution. They may be interested in helping him.

Now, the question is once a country agrees to grant him asylum, will he be released into the custody of the receiving country or will Mr. Rahman be released back into the public to fend for himself?

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