No proof of blasphemy in the Rimsha Masih case: The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012 p 5. October 5, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan.
Tags: Blasphemy Laws, Rimsha Masih
A police investigator has testified that there is no evidence that Rimsha Masih, the 11-year old Christian girl with Downs Syndrome, violated Pakistan’s blasphemy code.
On 16 August Rimsha was taken into custody after she was accused of burning pages of the Koran. The leader of mosque in Mehrabadi, a mixed Muslim-Christian neighborhood outside Islamabad, filed a complaint with the police alleging the young girl had committed blasphemy – a crime punishable by death under the Pakistani penal code.
An anti-Christian pogrom ensued in Mehrabadi and the Pakistani press reported that approximately 1000 Christian families fled the neighborhood in fear for their lives. Police held Rimsha and her mother in custody in Rawalpindi from 16 Aug to 7 Sept for their own protection after the riots, interior minister Rehman Malik told the senate last week, and released them after a Christian NGO made bail for the girl.
In the 22 Sept court hearing in Islamabad, police official Munir Hussain Jaffri said there was no evidence that Rimsha had burned a copy of a Koran. He also testified that the Muslim cleric who had brought the charges against the girl had been accused by three witnesses of fabricating the evidence against Rimsha.
However, Rao Abdul Raheem, the lawyer representing Muslim cleric Khalid Jadoon Chisthi who is now facing charges of perverting the course of justice warned the court that his client enjoyed wide popular support. Mr. Raheem told the court that just as the accused killer of Punjab’s Governor Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadris, was a hero to some for his actions – so too was his client.
The judge hearing the case ordered an adjournment until 24 Sept.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.