Use Every Diplomatic Means Necessary to Ensure Abdul Rahman's Release

The following letter was sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, calling for both the immediate release of Abdul Rahman and the necessity of freedom of conscience and worship in Afghanistan.

March 23, 2006

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of the Department of State
Washington, District of Columbia 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

The United States’ commitment to promoting freedom and democracy around the globe reflects not only the character and values of the American people but also a firm belief that the advancement of these principles leads to a more stable, prosperous and secure world.

It is in this spirit that I write you concerning the plight of Abdul Rahman, an Afghan man who is now standing trial in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity–a ludicrous criminal charge that could lead to the death penalty.

One of the most fundamental of all human rights is to live in a free and open society where people can practice a religion of their choosing. While the development of Afghanistan’s democratic system will reflect the character and traditions of the Afghan people, it must also embrace the basic human rights of all people–including the right to worship freely.

I am greatly concerned by Mr. Rahman’s prosecution and the challenge his case presents to the future of Afghanistan. It is fair to say that the United States has not spent the last four plus years liberating, defending, rebuilding, and assisting Afghanistan’s democratic development only to see the Afghani people remain subject to laws reminiscent of the Taliban’s reign.

Afghanistan has experienced significant progress since the fall of the brutal Taliban regime. This is a credit to the Afghan people and thousands of Americans and coalition partners serving and sacrificing in Afghanistan. To honor that sacrifice and fulfill our shared vision, we must remain steadfast in our defense of basic human rights.

Afghanistan’s government must adhere to the principle of religious freedom and tolerance. This is essential if Afghanistan is to become a free, prosperous, and thriving democracy. That is why I strongly urge you to use every diplomatic means necessary to ensure Mr. Rahman’s immediate release and to work with the government in Kabul to ensure Afghanistan’s laws are updated to protect the right of religious freedom.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to your response.


William H. Frist, M.D.
Majority Leader
United States Senate