Afghan Christian denied asylum in Belgium
29 March 2006, BRUSSELS — The Afghan Christian who was recently released from detention after facing the death penalty in Afghanistan for rejecting Islam applied for asylum in Belgium in August 2000.
29 March 2006
BRUSSELS — The Afghan Christian who was recently released from detention after facing the death penalty in Afghanistan for rejecting Islam applied for asylum in Belgium in August 2000.
Abdul Rahman applied for asylum in Belgium under a different name, but his request was denied, newspaper 'Le Soir' reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper said his request for asylum was rejected by the Commissionership-General for Refugees and the Stateless on 20 December 2000.
Rahman — who had entered Belgium alone — was voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan on 22 January 2003 with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Le Soir reported.
The 41-year-old Afghan national fled his native country in 1990 with his family. He then worked in Pakistan in refugee camps for a Christian NGO and converted to Christianity.
This sparked the departure of his wife and their children and Rahman then tried to build a new life in Greece, Germany and Belgium before returning to Afghanistan where he tried to regain contact with his daughters.
He was arrested last month after telling police during a custody dispute over his two daughters that he had converted to Christianity. Some reports suggest he was detained after his relatives informed authorities.
However, Rahman was released from Kabul's main high security Pul-e-Charki prison on Monday after he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.
Italy is now considering granting asylum to Rahman, who is reportedly being held at a secret location for fear of more protests in Afghanistan demanding his execution.
Several hundred people in Afghanistan protested on Monday against the case's dismissal.
The case has highlighted ambiguities in Afghanistan's constitution over the interpretation of religious issues and sparked heated western criticism.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news