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Pak court acquits Christian girl Rimsha of 'blasphemy'

Islamabad, Tue, 20 Nov 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Nov. 20 (ANI): A Pakistani court has thrown out all charges against teenaged Christian girl Rimsha Masih, who was accused of committing blasphemy.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice, Iqbal hameedur Rehman ordered the police to dismiss the FIR filed against Rimsha, who was accused of burning papers from the Quran, as there were no witnesses in the case.

Rimsha spent three weeks on remand in an adult jail after she was arrested on August 16.

She was arrested after a neighbour lodged a complaint with the Ramna police against her, accusing her of burning the pages of the Quran, reports The Dawn.

Abdul Hameed Rana, the counsel for the accused, had filed a petition in this regard on September 25. The girl was, however, released on September 7 on Rs 1 million surety bonds and police have since told the courts that she was not guilty and that a cleric who allegedly framed her should face trial instead.

Cleric Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, who first gave police the burned papers as evidence against her, was detained on September 1 for desecrating the Quran and tampering with evidence.

An official medical report classified Rimsha as "uneducated" and aged 14, but with a mental age younger than her years.

"I welcome this order. Justice has been done and the law of the land has been upheld by the court. 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," said Paul Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan's federal cabinet.

Rimsha and her family, who have been in fear for their lives since the allegations, were moved to an undisclosed location after her release on bail on September 8. (ANI)

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