Blasphemy case against Christian girl dropped

The 14-year-old Christian girl jailed in Pakistan on a cleric's allegation of blasphemy has been acquitted by a court.

In August, Rimsha Masih was accused by cleric Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti of burning papers, including pages torn from a child's Koran study book, in breach of Pakistan's strict, and fervently-enforced, blasphemy law.

Rimsha, who is intellectually disabled and reportedly with a mental age of 11, was whisked from her house by police, and jailed in Islamabad, after an angry mob surrounded her house and threatened to burn it down.

A week later, it emerged Chishti had set up Rimsha in an attempt to drive Christians from her slum neighbourhood on Islamabad's outskirts. Police said he had planted the burnt pages in a bag of rubbish she was carrying.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court dismissed the complaint lodged against her.

"The court has quashed the case, declaring Rimsha innocent," her lawyer, Akmal Bhatti, said.

Paul Bhatti, the only Christian in Pakistan's cabinet, and whose brother was assassinated for his support for scaling back the blasphemy law, welcomed the court's decision.

"Justice has been done and the law of the land has been upheld by the court," he said.

"It will send out a positive image of Pakistan in the international community that there is justice for all and that society has risen up for justice and tolerance."

Rimsha and her family have been living in a safe house, fearful of reprisal attacks, since she was released on bail in September.

with AFP

The story Blasphemy case against Christian girl dropped first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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