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Pak police clear Rimsha of blasphemy

Islamabad, September 22, 2012, PTI:

Pakistan police on Saturday said they had found no evidence that young Christian girl Rimsha Masih had committed blasphemy by desecrating pages of a religious text.

In a revised charge sheet submitted to the court of District and Sessions Judge Jawad Abbas, police said they had found no evidence against Rimsha, who was recently freed on bail.

No witness had come forward to testify against her, police said. The charge sheet however said that Khalid Chishti, the imam of the mosque in Rimsha’s neighbourhood, was guilty of tampering with materials that were used to accuse her of blasphemy.

The charge sheet said Chishti had added burnt pages from a religious text to a shopping bag that Rimsha had been carrying. The imam was arrested earlier this month after three men testified they had seen him planting the evidence that was used to implicate Rimsha.

However, there was no hearing of the case on Saturday as the civil judge handling the matter was on leave. The police only submitted the charge sheet to Judge Abbas.

The police have also accused Malik Ammad, the man who filed the complaint against Rimsha, of hiding facts from investigators. The police report further said Rimsha is illiterate and her mental development does not correspond with her age, which an official medical board has estimate at 14 years.

After Rimsha was granted bail on September 7, she and her family were moved to a undisclosed location by authorities for security reasons.

Her family had earlier said she suffers from Down Syndrome. Rimsha was arrested on August 16 under the harsh blasphemy law, prompting concern from the Vatican and several Western nations.


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