International pressure may have changed the outcome for an imprisoned Afghan Christian. The scheduled sentencing of Shoaib Assadullah on Jan. 4 was postponed after international pressure drove Afghanistan’s Attorney General to review his case. There is considerable pressure to release Shoaib, but at the same time, conservative elements within the government want to prosecute him.
Shoaib was arrested Oct. 21, 2010, after he gave a New Testament to a man who later reported him to authorities in northern Afghanistan. On Dec. 28, a judge told Shoaib he had one week to recant his Christian faith. If he refused, he could be sentenced to death or given a 20-year prison sentence. Three days later, 26-year-old Shoaib told a VOM contact that his life was completely in the hands of Jesus. He said, “Without my faith, I would not be able to live.”
Shortly before his scheduled sentencing, Shoaib told friends to “tell all my brothers and sisters, especially my Afghan brothers and sisters, that my faith is strong.” He also said he was not afraid of death.