Rimsha Masih released on bail
September 07, 2012
Rimsha Masih, the Pakistani Christian girl who was arrested on August 16 on blasphemy charges, has been released on bail.
Just days after an announcement that the accused girl would spend another week in prison, an Islamabad judge made the surprise decision to set bail at 500,000 rupees (about $5,200), and although the sum was substantial by Pakistani standards, the Masih family was able to secure the child’s release the same day.
The case of Rimsha Masih had become the focal point of international protests about Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws. The 14-year-old girl suffers from mental disabilities, and a medical panel had questioned whether she was responsible for her own actions. Moreover, a local imam had been arrested and charged with planting evidence against the girl.
Nevertheless, Islamic militants had demanded aggressive prosecution of the case, and threats against Rimsha Masih, her family, and her friends have driven hundreds of Christians into hiding.
Misrek Masih, the girl’s father, told the AsiaNews service that he is “very happy for my daughter’s liberation.” He added that he is “grateful from the bottom of my heart” to the human-rights activists whose work led to her release.
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