Taliban Due to Get Defense Petition for Detainees

ISTANBUL, Turkey, OCT. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- While the British-American military offensive against Afghanistan continued, the attorney for the Western co-workers detained by the Taliban was returning to Kabul to continue their defense, the Compass news agency reported Wednesday.

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The co-workers belong to the Shelter Now, a Germany-based Christian humanitarian organization. The group said Pakistani attorney Atif Ali Khan was believed to be making the 10-hour overland trip to Kabul with a companion.

Khan hoped that he would be able to submit his written defense to the Taliban Supreme Court today, German Foreign Ministry sources told Shelter Now.

The eight imprisoned Christians comprise four Germans, two Australians and two Americans. They are accused of preaching Christianity among Afghan Muslims, a capital offense under the strict Taliban interpretation of Islamic law.

Last Saturday the Taliban offered to release the prisoners if the United States stopped its «massive propaganda campaign of military action against the Afghan people.»

It was the first time that the Taliban had linked the Christian defendants to the crisis over Osama bin Laden. U.S. officials dismissed the offer as a stalling tactic.

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