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Rimsha granted bail: HRW welcomes court's decision

September 07, 2012

Policemen stand guard outside a court room in Islamabad, Sept 2, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

KARACHI: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday welcomed a court’s decision granting bail to Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of blasphemy.

“Human Rights Watch welcomes the court decision to release Rimsha on bail and urges Pakistan’s government to ensure her security and safety upon release,” the Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Masih, whose arrest last month angered religious and secular groups worldwide, may be in danger if she is set free and stays in Pakistan.

“The fact is that this child should not have been behind bars at all. All charges against her should be dropped and Pakistan’s criminal justice system should instead concentrate on holding her accuser accountable for inciting violence against the child and members of the local Christian community,” the statement said.

Earlier, police had detained a local cleric on suspicion of planting evidence to frame her.

“Human Rights Watch hopes that the blatant abuse that has come to light in this case will lead to a considered re-examination of the law and all stake-holders in Pakistan will actively seek to end frequent abuses perpetrated under cover of blasphemy allegations,” the HRW said.

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan today ordered the release of Masih, who was arrested in a poor Islamabad suburb on Aug 18 accused of burning papers containing verses from the holy Quran.