The death penalty case in Afghanistan against Muslim-turned-Christian Abdul Rahman has been dismissed, but for "lack of evidence" rather than because the "crime" shouldn't be a crime at all.

An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said.

The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.

An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released.

"The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

So there's no problem with executing people who convert away from Islam, as long as you've got enough evidence. This could be a step in the right direction if the "lack of evidence" thing is just a cover for a lack of desire to prosecute.

Dean Esmay points out that at least some of the Afghan government is emerging from the dark ages.

Think on it: President Karzai of Afghanistan actually felt the need to take phone calls on this matter from the Canadian Prime Minister. And the American Secretary of State. And the German Prime Minster. And the leaders of many other democratic nations. And he felt the need to take their concerns seriously. And he felt the need to assure them all that this man would not be executed. All of which actually happened within the last 72 hours.

Read that all as an indictment of the eville moooslims if you like. I read it as a country that is emerging at astonishing speed from the 12th century into the 21st.

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