Received from a friend on Saturday 16 April 2011:
I received an email this morning saying Shoaib received his passport this morning (Saturday)and has left the country for an indefinite stay. It became known where he was staying and determined too high a risk for him to stay.
My hope and prayer is that Shoaib will receive counseling for his prison ordeal, continue growing in the ways of Father and at some point return because Afghanistan needs him. Continue to lift him in prayer. Pray for the safety of his family in Maz and that they would accept the truth in their hearts.
Shoaib Assadullah, an Afghan Christian, was arrested for his faith in Jesus Christ. In January, a judge gave Shoaib one week to renounce his faith or be sentenced to death for apostasy. International pressure pushed Afghanistan’s Attorney General to intervene, but Shoaib remains in prison and there is no indication that he will be released anytime soon.
Name: Shoaib Assadullah
Arrested: October 21, 2010
Prison: A holding jail in Mazar-e-Sharif
Location: Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
Charges: Shoaib has not been formally charged, but was notified that he will be tried for apostasy – conversion from Islam to Christianity.
Shoaib Assadullah was arrested on October 21 in Mazar-e-Sharif after he had given a New Testament Bible to a man who later reported him to local authorities. He is currently in a holding jail (or Tawaquif-Khane in Dari) in Mazar-e-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan.
Since the arrest, Shoaib’s family has been against his conversion and has urged him to return to Islam. At first they tried – without success – to procure Shoaib’s release by paying bribes to court officials. Shoaib’s father is now desperate and pleading for help. He has spent much of his savings on the case, but to no avail. “He’s my son. Whatever he believes, I have to help him.”
Having appeared in court before, Shoaib was again summoned on December 28. However, this time was different. The judge told Shoaib that he had one week to recant his Christian faith. If he refused to return to Islam, he would be sentenced to death or a twenty-year imprisonment. Three days later, a partnering organization spoke with Shoaib over the telephone. “He is quite certain that they [court officials] will give him the death penalty,” the organization said. “At his last court appearance, the judge gave him one final week to renounce his faith, otherwise he would be hanged or killed for his faith. Shoaib stated he has placed his life completely in the hands of Jesus. He said he was so happy for the spiritual fight, saying, ‘Without my faith, I would not be able to live’.”
The court date was scheduled for January 4. Speaking to Shoaib again on the phone the night before he was to be summoned, the organization reported that Shoaib asked them to “tell all of his brothers and sisters, especially his Afghan brothers and sisters, that his faith is strong.” The organization added, “He [Shoaib] said that this is spiritual warfare and that we can only go when we go with Christ. He said that tomorrow morning is his trial. He asked that everyone pray that he could stand well. He said he is not afraid of death. He talked about his father and his desire for his father to know the truth. He is concerned about his father’s health since his mother has died.”
On January 4, the day Shoaib was expected to be sentenced, pressure from Western diplomats pushed Afghanistan’s Attorney General Mohammad Ishaq Aloko to intervene. Soon after, Shoaib was taken to a hospital for medical tests. Shoaib has since been sent back to prison and sources report that authorities told Shoaib that he will be locked up for another six months.
Shoaib’s situation is not getting any better. Action must be taken! While ICC has been engaged in advocacy for Shoaib with top U.S. government officials, we are now undertaking a large petition campaign. The petition, addressed to U.S. officials who have the ability to apply pressure on the Afghan government, will urge for the release of Shoaib Assadullah and Said Musa, another Christian imprisoned in Afghanistan. Please help us acquire 50,000 signatures by signing our petition and by forwarding it to your friends. This is a call to action! May the church offer refuge for suffering Afghan Christians by providing the support and assistance they need. Together we can help our persecuted brethren.
My name is Shoaib, the son of Saed Assadullah. I am 23 years old. From the year 2005 I have lived in
Not leaving anything unsaid, I am under emotional pressure from being in prison. Add to that the threat of being executed, constant insults and accusations, threats, cursing and being forced by other prisoners and by prison guards to do work for them… all because of prejudice against my different beliefs and my different ethnicity, and especially since they think that I am unclean.
Also, my father, who is my only visitor, is being insulted and mistreated every time he comes to see me.
I have to tell you, these are some of the things that are happening. I am only writing a small piece of all that I am enduring here in jail.
You probably are already aware that for years Afghans have had to leave comforts, many have been kicked out of their own homes, and many have been beaten or thrown in jail, and then have had to become refugees, all due to being a Christian. And all of this continues, as my life is another example of these things.
This is a rebuttal written by Shoaib, a Christian resident of Mazar in prison, who is under horrendous pressure. With great respect I wish that you might attend to this matter.
Signed by Shaoib, with a thump print.
March 11, 2011