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Court ruling promises gentler treatment for Pakistani girl charged with blasphemy

Catholic World News - August 28, 2012

A Pakistani court has ruled that the case of a Down-syndrome girl who was arrested on blasphemy charges should be handled by a juvenile court. The decision, which allows for more lenient treatment, was greeted by Bishop Rufin Anthony as a “positive development” in a case that has sparked international outrage.

A medical commission ruled that Rimsha Masih’s mental age does not correspond to her chronological age, and raised questions as to whether she could be held responsible for her actions. Her lawyer will undoubtedly cite the commission’s report in asking a juvenile court to release her from custody.

“We pray for her release,” said Bishop Anthony. Rimsha Masih has been held in prison since her arrest on August 16. Her family has been taken to an undisclosed location to escape threats from militant Muslims.

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