Sunday, September 2, 2012
Pakistani police say that a Muslim cleric planted evidence to link a Christian girl to blasphemy
The imam, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, will himself face blasphemy charges for tearing pages out of a Quran to use as evidence against the girl, Islambad police chief Bin Yamin said. The latest development may make it easier for the girl, 14-year-old Rimsha, to be released on bail at her next court hearing. Police arrested Rimsha after a neighbor accused her of burning pages containing texts from the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Insulting Islam provokes widespread and immediate reaction in Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim nation. Its controversial blasphemy law makes the crime punishable by death. Critics have said that the legislation is being used to entrap minorities. Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, who criticized the law, was shot to death by his security guard in 2011. A Pakistani court then suspended the guard's death sentence. In Rimsha's case, about 150 people gathered on August 17, 2012 - the day she was arrested - in the area where the neighborhood's Christian population lives and threatened to burn down their houses, police said. Her relatives have gone into hiding.