Girl Accused of Blasphemy Granted Bail in Pakistan

First such case to see bail offered

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 7, 2012 6:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – Following extensive court arguments in Pakistan today, a girl accused of burning pages of the Koran has been granted bail. A minorities activist group has agreed to pay the $10,000 bail fee, CNN reports. A lawyer for the Christian girl, called Rimsha, held that she has a low IQ and had been framed by a cleric. Her opponents said that blasphemy demanded punishment, regardless of her age; she is believed to be 14.

It's the first time a person accused of blasphemy has received bail in a trial court, notes the BBC; normally bail doesn't apply to such cases, but Rimsha's lawyers pointed to her age. She has been held since Aug. 16, and it's not clear when she will be released. When she is, she'll likely rejoin her parents. But her father has raised concerns for the family's safety; in Pakistan, vigilantes have killed those accused of blasphemy in the past, and Rimsha herself was arrested after a crowd urged it.

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, center, lawyer of Christian girl accused of blasphemy, leaves after court hearing in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012.
Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, center, lawyer of Christian girl accused of blasphemy, leaves after court hearing in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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