Pak court finally releases mentally-ill 'blasphemer' jailed for 14 years without trial

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Islamabad, July 24(ANI): A Pakistani court has ordered the release of a mentally-ill woman, Zaibun Nisa, who had been held without trial for 14 years on allegations of desecrating the Qur'an in 1996.

Zaibun's lawyer, Aftab Ahmad Bajwa, said that the Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif reprimanded the police in his ruling for arresting her without evidence.

The 60-year-old was arrested in 1996 after a Muslim leader in Islamabad alleged that someone had desecrated the Qur'an, although he did not mention her name.

"Zaibun Nisa was declared mentally ill by a medical board soon after her arrest in 1996, but she was still sent to jail," The BBC quoted Bajwa, as saying.

"There was no evidence linking her to the crime," he said.

Bajwa said that he found the 60-year-old in a "mental sub-jail" a year ago, and filed a petition on her behalf in the Lahore High Court.

He also said that Zaibun would be sent to a shelter for homeless people, as her family cannot be traced.

Under Pakistan's blasphemy law, anyone found guilty of insulting the Prophet Muhammad or the Qur'an, can be sentenced to death. (ANI)

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