President Bush says he is deeply troubled by the case of an Afghan man who could be put to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. Mr. Bush says he will try and resolve the issue diplomatically.
President Bush says he looks forward to talking with authorities in Kabul about the case of Abdul Rahman, 41, who under the country's Islamic law, could be executed if he refuses to return to the Islamic faith.
"We have got influence in Afghanistan and we are going to use it to remind them that there are universal values," said Mr. Bush. "It is deeply troubling that a country we helped liberate would hold a person to account, because they chose a particular religion over another."
The president says he expects Afghanistan will honor what he calls the universal principle of freedom and believes the problem can be solved by working closely with Afghan officials.
Asked about the issue during a question and answer session in the state of West Virginia, Mr. Bush said he shares the concerns that many Americans have about the case.
The United Nations has joined the United States, Canada, Germany, and Italy in expressing concern about Rahman.
Afghan Supreme Court officials say he will be examined to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial. If he is not, they say the case may be dropped.
Rahman was arrested two weeks ago after his parents told the police about his conversion to Christianity. Under Afghan law, if he does not revert to Islam before a second court appearance sometime in the next two months, he could receive the death penalty.