An Afghan supreme court judge is pointing to “gay” marriage in the U.S. to bolster his argument for an independent Afghanistan judiciary and to justify continued resistance to political and diplomatic pressure to free a Christian man on trial for his life because he converted from Islam 16 years ago.

Judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada

Judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada told the London Sunday Telegraph today, “In the United States men can be married in a gay marriage. That is irrational, illegal and against nature, but here in Afghanistan we are not talking about those cases.”

Mawlavizada’s comment follows statements by an official for President Hamid Karzai on Friday that suggested Abdul Rahman, 42, might be released in the next two days. Karzai himself had earlier “pledged” to several foreign leaders that Rahman would not be executed. A high-level meeting held yesterday with Karzai, his cabinet and local religious leaders failed to secure the Christian’s release, but an official who attended said the president promised “he will deal with the issue himself.”

Despite the international pressure on Karzai to resolve the matter, Mawlavizada indicated he felt no such pressure on himself, saying that while Afghanistan was grateful for aid from other countries, that did not mean those countries could interfere with Kabul’s laws or courts.

“We [the judiciary] have nothing to do with diplomatic issues,” he said. “We will do our job independently” – a restatement of his earlier position, reported by WorldNetDaily earlier this week: “Afghanistan is an Islamic country and its judiciary will act independently and neutrally,” according to a Reuters report. “No other policy will be accepted apart from Islamic orders and what our constitution says,” Mawlavizada added.

Mawlavizada and his fellow members of the Supreme Court question Karzai’s legal authority to intervene in the Rahman matter.

“The Quran is very clear, and the words of our prophet are very clear. There can only be one outcome: death,” said cleric Khoja Ahmad Sediqi, who is also a member of the judicial body. “If Karzai releases him, it will play into the hands of our enemy and there could be an uprising.”

Indeed, some clerics have threatened to kill Rahman if he is released.

Rahman worked with an international Christian group in Peshawar, Pakistan, just across the Afghan border, for four years then spent the next nine in Germany.

He encountered problems when he returned to Afghanistan in 2002 and tried to recover two teenaged daughters who were living with his parents in Kabul.

Rahman’s father resisted, denouncing his son as a convert and reporting him to police. Rahman immediately was arrested and a Bible was found in his possession.

The constitution in Afghanistan is based on Sharia law, which states any Muslim who rejects his or her religion should be sentenced to death.

If sentenced, Rahman apparently would be the first person punished for leaving Islam since the Taliban was ousted by American-led forces in late 2001.

An Afghan Christian in the U.S. who has regular contact with Christians in his home country through his ministry, posted a video clip of Rahman on his website.

Rahman says in the clip, according to Andaryas: “The punishment by hanging? I will accept it gladly, but I am not an infidel. I am not a traitor. I am a follower of Jesus.”

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Previous stories:

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