Friday, September 7, 2012

Pakistani Judge Grants Bail to Mentally-Challenged Christian Girl Accused of Koran Burning

ISLAMABAD (TheBlaze/AP) — A Pakistani judge granted bail Friday to a young, mentally challenged Christian girl accused of insulting Islam by burning pages of the religion’s holy book. TheBlaze has extensively covered this story since it commenced earlier this month.

Rights activists welcomed the decision. They had been calling for her release ever since she was arrested. The case has focused attention on Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which activists claim are used to persecute minorities and settle personal vendettas.

Judge Mohammed Azam Khan set bail at 1 million Pakistani rupees, or about $10,500, a significant sum in a country where many families live on only a few dollars a day. A Pakistani group that represents minorities said it would pay the bail.

“We feel that this is the real victory of truth and law,” said Robinson Asghar, an aide to the Pakistani minister for national harmony who has been closely following the case.

A lawyer representing the girl, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said the bail would be paid Saturday, and then she would be freed. She is being held in a prison in Rawalpindi, a city next to the capital of Islamabad.

The young girl, who is reported to be 14 years old and suffering from some form of mental impairment, was arrested after an angry mob surrounded her house in a neighborhood in Islamabad and accused her of burning pages from the Koran, an act punishable by life in prison under the country’s harsh blasphemy laws. Her lawyer has denied the allegation.


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