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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

World

HC dismisses Rimsha case
Imtiaz Ahmad, AFP
Islamabad, November 20, 2012
First Published: 11:45 IST(20/11/2012)
Last Updated: 00:18 IST(21/11/2012)
Mukhtar Khan, neighbour of a Christian girl arrested for alleged blasphemy, shows the locked house of a girl and vowed will never allow them to live in this neighborhood, in a suburb of Islamabad. AP Photo/BK Bangash

A Pakistani court on Tuesday declared Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Christian girl at the centre of a blasphemy controversy, innocent of the charges filed against her and dismissed the case against her.

The case was thrown out by the Islamabad High Court and its detailed order was made public on an application filed by Rimsha's lawyer. The judge said that the case lacked proper evidence to convict the girl, who is a minor and is also not fully in control of her mental faculties.

Rimsha's lawyer Akmal Bhatti confirmed the ruling of the court, which delayed making its verdict public because of the sensitivity of the case. Bhatti said that justice had been served. He informed the media that Rimsha had been declared innocent by the court and the case against her has been quashed.

Rimsha or her family members were not available for comment. They were moved to an undisclosed location in September after she was granted bail by the court. Interior minister Rehman Malik had ordered the move and said he feared for the girl's safety.

The court granted Rimsha bail after it was disclosed that the prayer leader who had initially accused Rimsha of blasphemy had fabricated the evidence against her. This turned the case upside down. Police corraborated the evidence against the prayer leader, Khalid Jadoon, and arrested him.

However, soon after, the witnesses who had testified against the prayer leader then went on to say that they had changed their testimony under police pressure. This change in their statements, however, did not convince the court.


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