Abdul Rahman, the Afghan man threatened with execution because he converted to Christianity, is reportedly set to be released. On Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed that Rahman was being freed not over legal technicalities, but because “the case itself” violated Afghanistan’s “constitutional expectations.” Watch it:
WALLACE: If [the case] is dropped, but not dropped because it’s just wrong to prosecute somebody for exercising freedom of religion, but rather because of technical flaws, lack of information, he’s mentally incompetent, does that end the controversy? Are you satisfied with that outcome?
RICE: Well, I think the question of mental incompetence, as far as I understand, has not been raised here. That this is really about the case itself. This is a complicated situation. We have been very clear with the Afghan government that the freedom of religion and the freedom of religious conscience is at the core of democratic development. They have constitutional expectations that have been written in that they will, in fact, live up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which protects individual conscience on religion.
Actually, according to officials, Rahman is being released merely due to a “lack of evidence,” not because of any constitutional objections to religious persecution. In fact, Afghan prosecutors are still investigating the case:
The Associated Press quoted an official as saying an Afghan court had dismissed the case against Rahman because of a lack of evidence. The official told AP the case had been returned to prosecutors for more investigation and that Rahman would be released in the meantime.
For years, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government entity, has warned that Afghanistan’s constitution contained “no guarantee of the right to religious freedom for all individuals.” Bush and other U.S. officials claimed otherwise, denying reality so they could promote the constitution as a diplomatic success. Clearly they haven’t learned their lesson.