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Afghan Convert Thanks Pope for Saving His Life


An Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has thanked Pope Benedict XVI and Rome for intervening on his behalf.

Abdur Rahman, who has taken asylum in Italy, arrived in Rome Wednesday. Thursday, he said he never wants to return to Afghanistan but that he is worried for his family.

Earlier, a purported spokesman for the Taleban condemned an Afghan court's decision to free Rahman and called for Afghans to rise up against the decision.

In Washington Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution urging Afghanistan to respect religious freedom.

Afghanistan's constitution upholds principles of civil liberties and Islamic law, which stipulates death for any Muslim who abandons Islam.

Abdur Rahman was jailed earlier this month for his conversion. But a court rejected most of the evidence and released Rahman this week after intense international pressure.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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