Italian Minister Seeks Asylum for Afghan Christian Convert

Italy's foreign minister will ask the government to grant asylum to an Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, who was among the first to speak out on the man's behalf, will ask for the permission at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the ministry statement said in a statement Tuesday.

Abdul Rahman, 41, was released from prison late Monday, a day after the court dismissed the case under pressure from the Bush administration.

He quickly dropped out of sight, as Muslim clerics in his country continued to call for his death.

The United Nations said it was trying to find a country willing to take him in.