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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan may have been framed by Muslim cleric

Girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan may have been framed by Muslim cleric

By Amna Nawaz, NBC News
Rimsha Masih, the Christian Pakistani girl accused of blasphemy for burning holy Muslim texts may have been framed by a local Muslim cleric who was among the first to accuse her of the crime, police officials said on Sunday.

Khalid Jadoon was arrested after witnesses from Masih's village, on the outskirts of the country’s capital, complained about his alleged actions.

The cleric appeared briefly in court on Sunday before he was sent to jail for a 14-day judicial remand.

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the detention in August of Rimsha Masih, accused by Muslim neighbors of burning Islamic religious texts.

Pakistani Christians live in fear after girl's blasphemy arrest

A local man, Hafiz Zubair, came forward to offer testimony in which he claims to have seen Jadoon fabricating evidence by mixing holy text pages with ashes.

Speaking to a local news channel, Zubair said: "I asked Jadoon why he was fabricating the evidence. He said that this would ensure a strong case against the girl and would ultimately help them in evicting the Christians from the locality."

Police official Munir Hussain Jafri told Reuters: "Witnesses complained that he had torn pages from a Koran and placed them in her bag which had burned papers."
Life for All Pakistan, one of the campaign groups working to secure Rimsha's release, issued a statement in response to the latest twist in the story, saying: “This is a national issue and everyone who claims to be secular and liberal should raise their voice.”