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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
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What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
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SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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