Afghan Convert to Christianity to be Executed within Days

An Afghan aid worker is facing execution within three days for converting to Christianity.

Said Musa, 45, was told by a judge that he would be hanged within days unless he reconverts to Islam.

But the father of six has refused to renounce his faith, telling the Sunday Times, "My body is theirs to do what they want with. Only God can decide if my spirit goes to hell."

He also claimed he was tortured and sexually abused by prison guards and inmates.

Musa has been held in prison since May last year, after a local TV network broadcast secret images of Afghan Christians being baptized by westerners. The broadcast caused outrage as protesters demanded the expulsion of those who appeared in the footage.

He sought asylum at the German Embassy but was arrested by authorities after calls by the deputy secretary of the Afghan parliament, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, for the public execution of the alleged converts, sparking a nationwide manhunt.

The case sparked international outcry from human rights groups, which pointed out that Afghanistan is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document declares the right to freedom of religion, including the freedom to change religion or belief. However, under Islamic, or sharia law, conversion to another religion is considered a crime.

Defense lawyers have refused to represent Musa unless he reconverts, while others have dropped his case after being threatened.

Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, worked as a physiotherapist for the Red Cross for 15 years while assisting in the treatment of fellow amputees.

The situation for Christians in Afghanistan, ranked third on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where Christian persecution is most severe, has deteriorated over the past year with a major crackdown by the government on Muslim background believers.

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