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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 08/29/2012
PAKISTAN - ITALY
As Rimsha Masih waits for her fate to be decided, Christian activists campaign for her release
Islamabad court will decide on lawyers' application for release. The opinion of a medical commission that examined the girl will be decisive. Its findings indicate that she is a minor with unspecified mental challenges. Hundreds of people sign a petition for her release sponsored by a Pakistani association in Italy.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - An Islamabad court will decide tomorrow whether to accept a request by lawyers representing Rimsha Masih to release the mentally challenged Christian girl in prison since 16 August on blasphemy charges. The case has attracted worldwide attention and many organisations have launched protest and solidarity campaigns on her behalf.

On the margins of this case, the fate of hundreds of Christian families who fled their neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital for fear of retaliation by Muslim extremists remains uncertain. Some of them in fact have not yet found a safe haven but cannot go back to their homes.

Rimsha Masih was accused of blasphemy on the basis of the 'black law' because she burnt some pages on which were printed some Qur'anic verses. According to the Pakistan Penal Code, she could get life in prison. It is feared that extremists elements close to the Taliban could retaliate, something they have done in the past when they carried out extrajudicial executions of people accused of blasphemy.

The court is expected to decide whether to release the girl or not after reviewing the findings of an evaluation carried out by a medical commission established for that purpose. The latter found that the girl is under the age of 14 and with reduced mental faculties. So far, it is unclear what her mental disability might be.

In the meantime, the Association of Pakistani Christians has launched a campaign for Rimsha's release with hundreds of people signing up around the world. The plea will eventually be presented to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Led by Mobeen Shahid, professor at the Pontifical Lateran University, activists in Rome plan to show their solidarity by launching an initiative directed at Pakistan's highest authorities.

The initiative will also include a demand to "revise or abolish" the country's blasphemy law, which has created hundreds of innocent victims since it was introduced in 1986.


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See also
04/27/2007 PAKISTAN
Mob and police torture Catholic man accused of blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix
11/27/2006 PAKISTAN
Two Christian men sentenced to ten years in prison for "blasphemy"
by Qaiser Felix
01/18/2007 PAKISTAN
Christian charged with blasphemy freed after four months
by Qaiser Felix
09/16/2009 PAKISTAN
Sialkot: police charges crowd at funeral for young man killed in prison for blasphemy
by Fareed Khan
10/13/2008 PAKISTAN
A Christian man and his daughter arrested, almost lynched for blasphemy
by Qaiser Felix

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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