Afghan Officials Free Aid Worker Threatened with Execution

An Afghan Red Cross employee who was reportedly threatened with execution unless he reconverted to Islam was released by government officials following pressure from the international community.

The release of Said Musa followed months of quiet diplomatic talks between Afghan government officials and diplomats from several foreign embassies in Kabul, The New York Times says.

Musa was released Feb. 20 and turned over to the Afghan attorney general’s office, NYT reports, citing a statement from Qayoum Khan, the director of the detention center where he was held.

Musa, a Christian who works as a physiotherapist for amputees, said a judge told him he would be hanged within days if he did not convert back to Islam, as Devex reported.

>> In Afghanistan, Aid Worker Faces Death Due to ReligionAid workers in conflict-afflicted countries often face the risk of being persecuted for political, religious and other reasons. Some militant groups accuse aid workers of having ulterior motives, such as converting the people they serve to Christianity - a claim that aid organizations deny.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.