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Afghanistan: Afghan Prisoner Released

Imprisoned Afghan Christian Said Musa has recently been released from prison. Compass Direct News reported that Said left the country Feb. 21, 2011, after being released days earlier. Said was arrested May 31, 2010, after a TV station broadcast video showing Afghan Christians being baptized and worshiping. Turning from Islam is a capital offense in Afghanistan.

Early in his imprisonment, Said was forced to publicly deny Jesus on TV, an act of which he later repented. He wrote, “I acknowledge my sin before [the] Lord Jesus Christ.… I am a very, very weak and [sinful] man.”

In prison, Said was beaten, sleep deprived and physically and sexually abused. He wrote a series of letters to the international community detailing his treatment and discussing his faith. In a final letter, dated Feb. 13, Said wrote that three Afghan officials tried to convince him to recant his faith. He wrote, “I laughed and replied, ‘I can’t deny my Savior’s name. Because my life is just service to Jesus Christ and my death is going to heaven [where] Jesus Christ is. I am a hundred percent ready to die.’”

Said Image

Said converted to Christianity eight years ago. He worked for the Red Cross for more than 15 years, fitting amputees for prosthetic limbs.

Said’s wife and six children are safely out of the country, but details concerning his release are being kept confidential in order to protect him and his family. Said’s release was secured with the help of international attention from John Piper, Rick Warren and several U.S. congressmen. A source in Afghanistan told Compass Direct News, “When local churches and international bodies advocate for the persecuted in faith, they have the power to change things.”

Another Afghan Christian, Shoaib Assadullah, remains in prison, charged with the same apostasy charge that Said faced. Shoaib was arrested in northern Afghanistan after giving a New Testament to a man who later reported him to authorities. In December, he was told he had one week to recant his faith or he would be sentenced to death. A January court hearing was postponed due to international pressure. In a Feb. 17 letter, he wrote, “The court’s decision is most definitely going to be the death penalty for me.”

Diplomatic efforts are underway to free Shoaib.

Posted: March 1, 2011

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