Report: Foreigners not Facing Capital Punishment in Afghanistan
Eight foreign aid workers detained in Afghanistan are not facing the death sentence for preaching Christianity but could be imprisoned or expelled, a report said Wednesday.
The private Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said that under the ruling Taliban militia's strict brand of Sharia law, Afghans could be executed for preaching Christianity but not foreigners.
It quoted an unspecified information ministry statement saying foreigners found guilty of such crimes could be jailed for three days to a month or expelled from the country.
"Only Afghan Muslims, if they are found guilty of preaching Christianity or conversion to Christianity, are punishable with death," said the Pakistan-based private news agency which has close contacts with the Taliban.
The aid workers -- two Americans, two Australians and four Germans -- were arrested over the weekend along with 16 other employees of German-based non-governmental organisation Shelter Now.
They have been accused of trying to convert Afghan Muslims to Christianity, although the Taliban has not yet announced the charges against them or the likely punishment they face.
A decree issued by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar earlier this year is widely understood to order the execution of anyone found trying to convert Afghan Muslims to another faith, or any Afghan who renounces Islam.
The radical Sunni militia's interpretation of Islamic law is unique in the Muslim world -- ISLAMABAD, Aug 8 (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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