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Friday, 19 October 2012

Update on Rimsha Masih

ISLAMABAD Pakistan, (Shamim Masih):  

On Wednesday 17th October 2012, Islamabad High Court (IHC) extended the restraining order against the trial of Rimsha, a Christian girl, accused of committing blasphemy, until Nov 14, 2012.

IHC extended the stay during the hearing of a petition filed by the accused girl for quashing the FIR registered against her.  Rimsha has pleaded not guilty.  The defence has based their petition for acquittal on the lack of police evidence and notable reports of evidence tampering.

Chaudhry Abdul Aziz Advocate submitted his power of attorney on behalf of Malik Ummad, the accuser. 

The court directed the counsels to conclude their arguments by the next hearing on November 14th and extended the restraining order until then.

Earlier on Oct 1, IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman had stayed the trial until October 17th. In that original petition, Rimsha's defense counsel petitioned for acquittal due to charges laid against Imam Khaild Jadoon, for tampering with evidence.  Advocate Hafiz Zubair listed Section 164 of the Pakistan Penal code against Imam Jadoon, who it is said ripped shreds of the Koran to make a case against Rimsha's family in order to cause error to a Christian family.

He also stated that Rimsha  was a juvenile according to a medical report compiled by a board of seven doctors, which had also stated that she appeared to be "uneducated" and had an "underdeveloped mind".

Under these original circumstances it seemed there was little chance of a conviction for Rimsha and the petition had stated that proceeding with the case further, would be a futile exercise.  

It has been alleged that Lawyers defending Rimsha Masih have not been paid by the lead humanitarian group coordinating her defence.  The BPCA will investigate this further.

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