Remember that Christian covert who is under trial for apostasy in Afghanistan? I blogged on that in Afghan Apostate to be Beheaded?
Initially President Hamid Karzai was flummoxed on what to do, what with the West led by US President Bush on one hand demanding he stops the trial or at least prevents the execution, and the mullahs on the other hand in non-compromising mood to take any instructions from the West on issues of Islamic laws.
At one stage I noticed [by reading news reports] that Karzai was leaning towards the mullahs perhaps because he realised that he could well face rebellion from those clerics who have been supporting him. The Afghan Supreme Court left Karzai in no doubt as to what it feels when last week it declared that Abdul Rahman must revert to Islam or face death according to Islamic law, which the country's constitution is partly based on.
Also, many Afghans pointed out that the constitution states: "No law can be contrary to the sacred religion of Islam." Amin, but also Alas to poor Karzai.
An Afghan Supreme Court judge, who's not involved in the Rahman case, said: "It is like a two-side drum. Beating any side makes a noise. You have got the international community on one end and the Afghan community on the other end. Either way Karzai is a loser: if he takes the side of one, he has the other party standing against him."
Then Australian PM John Howard lent his voice to the situation which could have tilted the balancing act that Karzai had been juggling with. Howard stated that he would find it extremely difficult to continue having Aussie troops defend a country that executes its citizens just for changing religion. His stand was taken up by the Europeans [no doubt to the consternation of not only President Karzai but also the USA, who doesn't want to be left alone beyond the daunting Khyber Pass].
President Karzai knows that without the Europeans or Aussies to back his regime, and with an American public already very disenchanted with Bush’s foreign adventures, he wouldn’t last very long against a resurgent Taleban.
A bit of lateral thinking was required, and he came up with one, which Edward de Bono would have been proud of. I term it Karzai’s Bangkok Option.
The accused was declared insane, which should ‘explain’ why he converted to Christianity in the first place!
According to a court official, his relatives, namely his cousin Abdul Munir and his [Abdul’s] daughter, Maria, Abdul Rahman is not mentally fit. In fact, just in case anyone queries the technicalities, they said emphatically that he's mad. I don't know whether they did it out of love or money? The court official also embellished the tale of madness by revealing that: "He himself has said he hears strange voices in his head. His files have been sent back to the attorney-general for further investigations."
That gave the Supreme Court a way out, whence it then decided not to pursue its case against Abdul Rahman. I wonder whether it also declared that ‘those that God loves, He first makes mad’?
Needless to say, the Afghan court immediately dropped the case like a hot potato [or a poppy bloom], with the presiding judge no doubt glad to be relieved from his awkward responsibility. Like a game of tennis, it stroked the matter over to Kabul's top prosecutor for a decision.
The ball is now in the attorney-general’s court [excuse the pun]. Apparently, word leaked to western reporters is that Abdul Rahman will undergo some 'medical tests', following which he would be confirmed as mad and released, all within a few days. If Karzai is wise, he would send the man to the west for ‘advance medical treatment’, of course purely on compassionate grounds and concern for one of his citizens.
However, we haven’t heard from the mullahs yet, so Karzai may not be out of the woods completely, and he better mounts a high security protection for the apostate. But I am glad that Abdul Rahman can be spared. Maybe Allah swt does love him!