Rimsha Masih, who family says is 11 years old with Down’s syndrome, will spend more time in prison after her court hearing was adjourned Thursday. Rimsha, a Christian, was arrested on blasphemy charges after being accused of burning pages of Islamic books. The hearing is rescheduled for Saturday and there is hope the child will be released on bail. The case has received international condemnation over Pakistan’s blasphemy laws that often target religious minorities.
By Rob Crilly
8/30/2012 Pakistan (Telegraph) – A young Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan faces spending more time in a high-security prison in Pakistan after her bail hearing was adjourned on Thursday.
Rimsha Misah has been held for almost two weeks after being accused of burning a Koran.
Blasphemy is a serious offence in Pakistan, punishable with death.
Her family have been taken into protective custody and Christians have fled their homes in fear of violent reprisals.
Rimsha’s family say she was born with Down’s syndrome and is aged 11.
However, at a bail hearing on Thursday, a lawyer acting for the man accusing Rimsha of blasphemy rejected a medical report saying that she was 14, with a lower mental age, and should be treated as a minor. He has asked for a new medical report.
It means Rimsha will remain in Adiala Prison until at least Saturday, when the hearing will resume.
The prison is notorious for holding murderers and terrorists. It is home to Mumtaz Qadri, the man who shot dead Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, last year for his campaign to reform the blasphemy laws.
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