» 08/29/2012, 00.00
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.
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mob and police torture Catholic man accused of blasphemy
Without any evidence angry Muslims torture Sattar Masih, 28, for allegedly blaspheming against Muhammad. Police moves in but only to arrest him. He was supposed to get married the following day.
Two Christian men sentenced to ten years in prison for "blasphemy"
Despite the lack of evidence a court in Faisalabad condemns two Catholic men for burning some pages of the Qur'an. For their attorney the verdict was influenced by Muslim extremists.
Christian charged with blasphemy freed after four months
Shahid Masih, 17, was accused with ripping the pages of a sacred book. After months in solitary confinement, the court releases him for lack of evidence.
Sialkot: police charges crowd at funeral for young man killed in prison for blasphemy
Police attack mourners during the burial ceremony. Witnesses say police used tear gas against the crowd, injuring some and arresting others. Police claims it had to move in to prevent “further disturbances”. Catholic leaders renew call for the repeal of the blasphemy laws.
A Christian man and his daughter arrested, almost lynched for blasphemy
Rumours spread in a village near Faisalabad that a Christian girl ripped some pages from the Qur’an. But more than one version of the facts is making the rounds of the village. Anti-Christian intolerance is growing in the country and a Pakistani lawmaker says the “accusations are a fabrication” to persecute Christians.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
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