Edriss Popal (27) fled to the Netherlands in September 2015. In Afghanistan he was regularly the target of fundamentalist Muslims because of his communist/atheist father and his personal atheist convictions. Edriss was regularly beaten up by people who did not accept his beliefs. This happened first in his home province Maidak Wardan.
Later, when he moved to Kabul after finishing his education, his work for various American organizations was another thorn in the eye of fundamentalist Muslims.
Edriss was arrested and imprisoned for three months in the infamous Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul after he and a group of friends were attacked by a group of muslims in a Kabul cafe where he openly criticized Islam and expressed his disbelief in Islam and any other religion. He was released after three months. It turned out, however, that the prosecutor’s office had never closed his case. Another warrant for his arrest was issued – again for blasphemy and atheist convictions, violations of law punishable by death in Islamic Afghanistan.
Edriss has been in the Netherlands for more than two years, and is still waiting for a decision by the immigration service IND. He cannot go back. “That will be my death.”