A Christian girl, who reportedly has Down syndrome, was arrested Auguest 17 for allegedly carrying burned pages of the Quran. The accusations led to hundreds of Muslim demonstrators chanting on the street for the child’s death. In a recent update, National Public Radio reports that the girl remains behind bars and has been denied visits by her lawyer and family. According to the lawyer, “[The girl] was crying and weeping… and full of fear.” The case has stirred an international outcry over Pakistan’s oppressive blasphemy laws.
By Lauren Frayer
8/25/2012 Pakistan (NPR) – NPR’s Lauren Frayer has the latest on the case of a jailed Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
There’s been international outcry over the arrest of a young Christian girl in Pakistan, who’s charged with blasphemy. A Muslim neighbor denounced her for allegedly burning parts of the Quran, a crime that’s punishable by death in Pakistan. An Islamic cleric caught word of it and stirred up an angry mob that beat the young girl. NPR’s Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad, the girl is now behind bars and unable to see her lawyer or family.
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhary has only seen his client once. She was huddled in a dark corner in a police station trembling moments after officers whisked her away from a mob that called for her to be stoned to death.
TAHIR NAVEED CHAUDHARY: She was crying and weeping, you know, she didn’t tell me because she was weeping and crying and full of fear.
FRAYER: Chaudhary says the girl, Rimsha Masih, is 11 years old and suffers from seizures. She’s in jail because a Muslim neighbor says he saw her burning pages of a book used to teach children the Quran. But the lawyer says that’s impossible. Rimsha’s family is Christian and wouldn’t have had such a book to begin with. Whatever happened, he says, it wasn’t intentional.
CHAUDHARY: My client is not guilty in this case because she can’t judge right and wrong because she’s a minor and also she’s illiterate.
Want to make a difference in this story? You can sign ICC’s petition calling for the immediate release and safekeeping of Rimsha today! Lend your voice by clicking here.