AFGHANISTAN: Shoib Assadullah leaves country after release

Shoib Assadullah, a Christian who was formerly a Muslim, has been released from prison and left Afghanistan last week following concerns about his safety.

Shoib’s release came a month after the release of Said Musa, another Christian BMB (Believer from a Muslim Background). Sustained diplomatic representations were made on Shoib’s behalf to the Afghan government. Shoib was released on bail on 30 March and commanded by court officials not to leave his home town of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. However, a friend said that “Shoib’s location in Mazar became known and this was judged to be a high risk, so he has left the country for an indefinite stay abroad. He travelled to Kabul and then [out of the country] with the help of friends.”

Shoib was arrested on 21 October 2010 for giving a New Testament to a man who reportedly turned him in to the authorities. For some time, he had no legal representation and was pressurised to recant his Christian faith. The Afghan authorities tried to build a case that he was insane in order to explain his change of faith and possibly to justify a more lenient sentence for him.

In a letter written in February, Shoib said, “Not only has my freedom been taken from me, but I am undergoing severe psychological pressure. Several times I have been attacked physically and threatened with death by fellow prisoners, especially Taliban and anti government prisoners.” (International Christian Concern)