Pakistan drops blasphemy case against Christian girl Rimsha

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Islamabad, Nov 20: Now, the 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl Rimsha can heave a sigh of relief. A court in Pakistan has dropped a controversial blasphemy case against Rimsha on Tuesday, Nov 20. Rimsha was accused by her neighbour of burning pages from the Quran.

The teenager was held in a maximum security jail in July prompting international concern. Her arrest followed accusations by a Muslim cleric now facing a case for allegedly planting evidence. Rimsha's lawyer said the case had been a misuse of law. Her family received death threats and went into hiding.

Following an outcry over the case, Rimsha, who doctors said was 14-years-old but with a younger mental age, was released on bail - an extremely rare move in blasphemy cases.

The blasphemy law enjoys widespread support among ordinary Pakistanis even though critics say it is often abused by people involved in disputes or against members of religious minorities.

Over the past two years, two senior government officials who had suggested reform of the law were shot dead, one by his own bodyguard. Lawyers threw rose petals at the killer and the judge who convicted him was forced to flee the country.

The number of blasphemy cases brought under the law is rising. Since 1987, there have been almost 250 cases, according to the Center for Research and Security Studies think-tank.

Convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal but mobs often take the law into their own hands.

The think-tank said 52 people had been killed after being accused of blasphemy since 1990.

OneIndia News

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