Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Afghan president to show clemency towards a man facing possible execution for converting to Christianity.
Abdul Rahman has been charged with apostasy, a religious offence.
The Vatican said the pontiff had appealed to President Hamid Karzai to respect human rights guarantees enshrined in the Afghan constitution.
The Afghan government has been holding talks on the fate of Mr Rahman, who officials say "could be released soon".
Mr Rahman is on trial charged with rejecting Islam. He could be executed under Islamic Sharia law unless he reconverts.
If Mr. Karzai gives in, he's kowtowing to the West. If Mr. Rahman ends up being executed, it only makes Islam look all that more barbaric and the US gets burned for having supported a government that is simply the Taliban with a nicer face. Why this man did not receive asylum in Germany I do not know. Did they know he was a Christian? Did they not consider the fact they were sending him home to be ratted out by his family and face being put to death?
Islam is going to take decades, even centuries (if ever) to moderate and end up like Christianity in the West. The best the West can hope for is that Islamic law will in the meantime be administered fairly. As it stands, in a lot of places in the world, the so-called clerics who are supposed to be experts in Islamic law are not very well educated and are more arbiters of tribal custom than judges of a centuries-old legal system.
There are no winners here except Mr. Rahman if he does in fact escape with his life.