Dramatic prison release for Pak girl accused of blasphemy
Islamabad: Sharpening the focus on the controversial blasphemy laws in Pakistan, a 14-year-old Christian girl, accused of blasphemy, named Rimsha saw a dramatic release from prison, as she was whisked to the helicopter in an armoured vehicle and flown to a secret location.
The young girl named Rimsha Masih, who is also mentally retarded, was arrested on August 16 on charges of burning pages of Quran and was lodged in Adiala prison in Rawalpindi.
Local TV broadcasts showed Rimsha with face covered with a green scarf, being escorted by armed cops to the helicopter from where she was flown away to a secret location.
The dramatic release of the girl highlights the extent of danger her life is in as a lawyer suggested she could be lynched if found not guilty.
Pakistan is no stranger to deadly riots against minority communities after blasphemy charges are imposed on them.
Rimsha was granted bail on Friday after a local cleric was detained on suspicion of planting false evidence to stir resentment against Christians.
In his ruling, the judge wrote that the arrest of the cleric cast serious doubt on the prosecution’s case. He also said she was a minor, had mental challenges and that it was “not believable” that she had intentionally burnt Qur’anic verses. On those grounds, he decided to grant the bail.
The case of Rimsha Masih invoked a huge international outcry as her age and mental retardness put in question the validity of blasphemy laws.
Critics say that the blasphemy law is being used to target the vulnerable minorities in Pakistan.
With Agency Inputs
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