CLAAS is inviting Christians around the world to pray for Rimsha Masih.
Rimsha is a Christian minor who has been accused of blasphemy by supposedly burning pages of Koranic verses. She has been held in prison since the accusation was made against her two weeks ago. Her family says she has Down’s syndrome.
Her case was due to be heard over the weekend but it was postponed by judge Muhammad Azam Khan after prosecutors alleged that legal paperwork related to Rimsha’s bail application had not been signed off by her mother.
Rimsha’s lawyer, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, has accused the prosecuting team of delaying tactics.
She was due to hear today if she would be granted bail, but her court hearing has once again been postponed, this time to 7 September.
In the latest twist to the tale, Rimsha’s principal accuser Khalid Chishti has been arrested by police on suspicion of planting the pages of Koranic verses in Rimsha’s bag, in which she was carrying burned papers.
CLAAS provides free legal assistance to Christians in Pakistan and is monitoring the case closely.
CLAAS UK Coordinator Nasir Saeed has called upon Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to review the blasphemy laws, which are frequently misused by Muslim extremists to falsely accuse Christians and other minorities, in order to settle personal scores.
“Please pray for Rimsha’s release and her safety,” he said. “Blasphemy accusations are extremely serious in Pakistan and the lives of those accused are often at huge risk from radical Islamists, even if they are found to be innocent by the police or courts. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered an investigation into Rimsha’s arrest but that is not enough. He must order an urgent review into the misuse of the blasphemy laws so that there will be no more innocent victims like Rimsha. If it is found to be true that Chishti planted evidence against her, then he must be held to account for his actions.”
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