|Lawyer calling for law-breaking : Rao Abdur Raheem, Photo Faisal Mahmood / Reuters|
The lawyer representing the cleric who is charging Rimsha has done everything in his power to keep Rimsha in prison. Not surprising for a prosecution lawyer, you might think. Except this lawyer has been openly calling for her to be killed if she was released. The medical report stated she was a minor, aged about 14, with learning disability, and thus eligible for bail. At the remand hearing, at which apparently no lawyer turned up to represent Rimsha, Rao vigorously challenged the report, claiming that the medical report - 'has been managed by the state, state agencies and the accused' - in other words, just like the bigoted and hate filled imam he represents, he is blaming the Downs syndrome victim for 'conspiracy' - this time with the state! Rao Abdur Raheem also claimed the report was illegal, as it was ordered by a civil servant and not a court, and exceeded it's remit, which was, he claims, to establish her age. (Rimsha's family insist she is actually 11).
The lawyer has been making extremely inflammatory statements. The Guardian quoted him as saying :
'If the court is not allowed to do its work, because the state is helping the accused, then the public has no other option except to take the law into their own hands'
and he also incited violence in regard to Rimsha by saying outside court
'There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country'
Mumtaz Qadri is the bodyguard who assassinated Governor Taseer last year for standing up for Asia Bibi, and who is much praised by many - including lawyers - in Pakistan. In other words he is calling for people to murder Rimsha, just like the cleric he represents, who wanted her burned alive.
The Telegraph also reported him as saying :
'If you burn me, I will forgive you, but if you burn our Koran, then I will fight a legal battle to seek maximum punishment for anyone doing this act'
disturbing rhetoric in light of his client calling for her to be burned alive on the spot.
The judge has remanded Rimsha in adult jail along with terrorists and murders for another 14 days while he 'considers the matter further'. While the BPCA is no expert on legal matters that may require 'further consideration', we are extremely concerned that what is in fact happening is that with such rhetoric the judge is folding, perhaps out of fear of his own life - a real fear, given past blasphemy cases.
Sources : 1, 2, 3, 4