Pakistani Girl Faces Life in Prison for Allegedly Burning Pages of the Quran
A judge in Pakistan has granted bail to a mentally-challenged girl who’s been accused of blasphemy. The girl burned pages of the Muslim holy book, and was arrested for her actions.
Activists were glad to see the girl released by the judge. Some say that blasphemy laws of Pakistan are often used to punish minorities and to settle personal vendettas.
Judge Mohammed Azam Khan set the bail high for Pakistani families, $10,500. But a group that represents minorities in the region said it would pay the woman’s 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.
The girl, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, was being held in a prison in Rawalpindi. She is 14-years old and suffers from a mental impairment. Before she was arrested, an angry mob surrounded her house and accused her of burning pages of the Quran. Burning pages of this holy book is an act that can earn a person life in prison.
Then, making the case even more dramatic, a Muslim cleric was arrested for stashing pages in the girl’s bag to make it appear as though she’d burned them. Some say that he planted the evidence in order to get Christians out of the neighborhood. He too is being accused of blasphemy.
“No evidence has been brought up against her for willfully committing this crime,” said one of the girl’s lawyers, Pervez Khan. “To achieve this nefarious design (getting Christians out of the neighborhood), they have framed a minor girl in this case,” he said.
Human Rights Watch and other groups are monitoring the girl’s case closely.
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