KINGSTON, Ontario, February 10, 2011 ( – Archbishop Brendan M. O’Brien of Kingston, Ontario has asked the Canadian government to intervene on behalf of an Afghan Red Cross worker facing a death sentence for converting to Christianity.

Archbishop O’Brien, on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), sent a letter on February 9 to Canada’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, urging the government “to express its condemnation of this religious persecution, and to intervene with the Government of Afghanistan for mercy and clemency for Mr. Sayed.”

Musa Sayed, who converted to Christianity about eight years ago, is an amputee and physical therapist who has worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan for the past 15 years. He specializes in fitting children with prosthetic limbs.

He was arrested in May last year on apostasy charges and has been imprisoned in a Kabul jail since.

Media reports indicate that Sayed may be executed within days on charges of conversion from Islam to another religion, which under Sharia law carries the death penalty.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice chief of staff, Jamal Khan Naseri, stated in November, “the sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception” and that converts from Islam “must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.”

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also issued a statement urging the Afghan government to respect human rights in the case of Mr. Sayed.

“Let me stress that a sentence to death or any punishment for converting from one religion to the another is in strong contradiction with everything NATO stands for,“Rasmussen said at a news conference on February 7.

“Nato is based on the principles of human rights, rule of law, freedom, democracy,” he stated.

“I would expect the Afghan government as well as all Afghan institutions to live up to the requirements as stated in the Afghan constitution including full respect for human rights.”

Contact information:

Ministry of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Professor Saranpoh Habibullah Ghalib – Minister of Justice
Email: [email protected]
Phone: + 93 20 2100 322

Jamal Khan Naseri – Head of the Minister’s Office
Email: [email protected]
Phone: + 93 20 2100 325


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