Rimsha Masih awaits blasphemy verdict

Published 14 November 2012
AP
Rimsha Masih and her family have been staying in an undisclosed location since being accused of blasphemy in August

The blasphemy trial of Rimsha Masih has ended but the court has left the family in limbo after deciding today to reserve judgement on whether or not to dismiss the case.

The Christian minor was tried in the Islamabad High Court after being accused of desecrating the Koran in August.

Rimsha was released on bail following her initial arrest over the charge.

Rimsha, who is fourteen years old but has a younger mental age, was charged with desecrating the Koran under section 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Her lawyers maintain that the accusation is trumped up and a police charge sheet indicated that there was no evidence to support the claims against her.

The case made international headlines because of Rimsha's young age and was even criticised by Muslim clerics in Pakistan.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's (CSW's) Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, "Only a fortnight ago, during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN, Pakistan cited the handling of Rimsha's case as a sign of positive change, in response to criticism of the country's blasphemy laws.

"Within Pakistan itself, the case has been held up as a clear example of misuse of the laws from the very beginning and there seems little point in prolonging the trial any further.

"We urge the competent authorities to annul the original charge without delay, sparing Rimsha any further ordeal in court and demonstrating that the early progress so strongly highlighted at Pakistan's UPR is a reality on the ground."

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