Amnesty urges Pakistan to reform blasphemy laws
Amnesia Amnesty International has urged Pakistain to reform its blasphemy laws and protect a young Christian girl cooled for a few years
Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please!
for allegedly burning pages inscribed with verses from the holy Koran.
Rimsha (previously also reported as Rifta), who is between 10 and 13 years old and is reported to have Down's Syndrome, was taken into custody in a low-income area of Islamabad on Thursday after Moslem protestors demanded she be punished.
Amnesia Amnesty International's South Asia director, said the case showed the "erosion of the rule of law" in Pakistain and the dangers faced by those accused of blasphemy.
Amnesia Amnesty International is extremely concerned for Rimsha's safety. In the recent past individuals accused of blasphemy have been killed by members of the public," Truscott said in a statement issued late Tuesday.
President Asif Ali
Ten Percent Zardari
... husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, who has been singularly lacking in curiosity about who done her in ...
on Monday ordered officials to explain the arrest, while it was reported that Christians fled the neighbourhood of Mehrabad in fear.
Truscott welcomed Zardari's response but warned it would count for little unless there were "greater efforts to reform the blasphemy laws to ensure they cannot be used maliciously to settle disputes or enable private citizens to take matters into their own hands."
There has been growing concern in the West over religious intolerance in Pakistain following the liquidations last year of leading politician, Salman Taseer, and Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister who spoke out against the blasphemy law.
"The continued failure to reform these laws has effectively sent the message that anyone can commit outrageous abuses and attempt to excuse them as defence of religious sentiments," Truscott said.
Neighbours said Rimsha had burned papers collected from a garbage pile for cooking in her family home and someone alerted the local holy man after spotting the remains being thrown out as rubbish.
Pakistain's strict anti-blasphemy laws make defaming Islam or desecrating the holy book illegal and potentially punishable by death.
A Christian mother, Aasia Bibi, sentenced to death for blasphemy in late 2010 remains in prison, while last month, a mob snatched a mentally unstable man from a village cop shoppe and beat him to death in central Punjab province after he allegedly burned pages from the Koran.
Posted by: Fred