لینک های دسترسی

AFGHAN AID - 2001-08-26


Red Cross representatives have been given permission to visit eight foreign aid workers detained in Afghanistan as early as today (Sunday).

Afghanistan's Taleban rulers say they will allow diplomats and other visitors to see the foreigners, imprisoned earlier this month for allegedly preaching Christianity.

But officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross say they are still working out the details of the visit.

In Geneva, I-C-R-C spokeswoman Antonella Notari said Saturday Red Cross officials are insisting that they be able to meet with all the detainees separately, without witnesses, and that they be able to deliver messages from their families.

They also want guarantees that they will be able to make unlimited future visits in order to see if they need medical help or supplies.

Diplomats and relatives of the two Americans, four Germans, and two Australians have also been issued visas for visits later in the week. The Taleban had resisted earlier attempts to see the detainees, but now the hardline Muslim movement says it has completed an initial investigation.

The aid workers for the German-based Shelter Now Agency were arrested earlier this month along with 16 local Afghan staff members on charges of trying to convert Afghans to Christianity. Shelter Now has strongly denied that there have been any attempted religious conversions.

If found guilty, the foreigners could be sent to jail and expelled from Afghanistan. The accused Afghans face harsher penalties, including death.

The Taleban practices a hardline version of Islam that makes it illegal for Afghan Muslims to convert Christianity.

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