Monday, February 21, 2011

Mr. President, Stand Up for Said Musa and Human Rights

Said Musa Released
February 24, 2011 12:48 P.M.
By Paul Marshall

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which, together with the U.S. Embassy, has been active on the case, is reporting that Said Musa, the Afghan man facing a death sentence for having become a Christian (see here and here) has now been released and is safely in another country.

— Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

In a country U.S. troops are dying to defend, an Afghan Christian convert is sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.

Paul Marshall reports that Said Musa converted to Christianity eight years ago.
"Musa was one of about 25 Christians arrested on May 31, 2010, after a May 27 Noorin TV program showed video of a worship service held by indigenous Afghan Christians; he was arrested as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy. He converted to Christianity eight years ago, is the father of six young children, had a leg amputated after he stepped on a landmine while serving in the Afghan Army, and now has a prosthetic leg. His oldest child is eight and one is disabled (she cannot speak). He worked for the Red Cross/Red Crescent as an adviser to other amputees.

"He was forced to appear before a judge without any legal counsel and without knowledge of the charges against him. “Nobody [wanted to be my] defender before the court. When I said ‘I am a Christian man,’ he [a potential lawyer] immediately spat on me and abused me and mocked me. . . . I am alone between 400 [people with] terrible values in the jail, like a sheep.” He has been beaten, mocked, and subjected to sleep deprivation and sexual abuse while in prison. No Afghan lawyer will defend him and authorities denied him access to a foreign lawyer."
Musa is only asking to be transferred to a different prison not asking to be spared from the death sentence. Though being spared from the death penalty is what the United States pushed for and gained under President George W. Bush for Abdul Rahman. In 2006 Rahman's case "sparked Western criticism, with the US, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Sweden among those demanding Afghanistan respect international laws on freedom of religion and human rights."

It's time for President Obama to demand respect for international laws protecting freedom of religion and human rights. Paul Marshall points out that Obama was quick to publicly plead with Florida pastor Terry Jones to not burn the Koran.

If President Obama is willing to lead, he might find the same strong allies that President Bush found in the Rahman case: Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden as well as other nations--maybe even the United Nations.

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner needs to stand up for human rights for Said Musa in a country currently draining over $100 billion a year in U.S. funding not to mention the 499 US soldiers who died last year to safeguard Afghanistan's democracy--a democracy which is crushing human rights and headed again to being run by the Taliban and brutal sharia law.

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