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Pakistani Girl's Blasphemy Bail Hearing Postponed

September 03, 2012

A 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy will remain in jail until at least September 7.

A judge in Islamabad announced that her bail hearing, set for September 3, would be adjourned until then because of a lawyers' strike.

The girl, Rimsha Masih, was arrested in Islamabad last month on accusations of burning pages of the Koran.

However, on September 2, the case, which has sparked an international outcry, took a new twist.

The imam who accused Masih was himself charged with blasphemy, punishable by death in Pakistan.

The imam, Khalid Chishti, was accused of planting pages of the Koran in a bag containing burnt paper that had been carried by the girl.

Chishti, who denies any wrongdoing, allegedly saw it as a way to push out Christians from his neighborhood.

Human Rights Watch in Pakistan described the decision to act against the cleric as "unprecedented."

Based on reporting by AFP, BBC, AP, and Reuters


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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