The farce that the Taliban is calling a trial of eight foreign aid workers accused of promoting Christianity continued over the weekend, but no one—including, it seems, those in charge of the proceedings—knows what's going on. The aid workers' lawyer, Atif Ali Khan, first tried to present what was reported to be his closing argument on Saturday. But the Taliban Supreme Court rejected it, saying it had to be written in local language Pashto or Dari, not Arabic (has the Taliban banned Arabic now?). When he presented his translated case on Sunday, only one justice was present; five justices had been sitting in on proceedings earlier. And after Sunday's proceedings, Khan left Kabul and returned to Pakistan. "I don't know what that means," Jimmy Seibert, pastor of the two American hostages, told The Dallas Morning News, "but we're not as confident as we were about a quick resolution." (Seibert's Antioch Community Church has a nonstop prayer vigil continuing for the aid workers, and its Web site offers updates on their condition.) Khan is more upbeat. "I am optimistic about their release, because we have argued their case well," he told the Associated Press. He also explained to Reuters that he returned to Pakistan because all he can do now is wait to see if the justices (sorry for the bad word choice) have any questions.
The Dallas Morning News also has a droplet of news about the 16 Afghan Shelter Now workers who were also arrested. Apparently they are still alive and, in Seibert's words, living in conditions "harsher than they are for our gang."
On a related note, regular readers may remember last Thursday's Weblog item noting Sunday Express reporter Yvonne Ridley, who was ...1
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