26 October, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/31/2012
PAKISTAN
Islamabad: Rimsha Masih remanded. Paul Bhatti optimistic for release
by Jibran Khan
This morning, the judge granted another 14 days to investigators to close the investigation. APMA representatives "usual procedure"; preparations ahead of tomorrow’s hearing. Bishop Rufin Anthony, worried about child’s health and safety.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - "I'm optimistic about the possibility that Rimsha Masih will be freed" and if she is not released tomorrow  at the scheduled bail hearing, it is very likely that it "will be decided early next week", says Paul Bhatti, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Harmony in comments to AsiaNews, on the story of the little Pakistani girl arrested - and now on trial - for blasphemy. The Catholic politician who holds a ministerial post explains that "we immediately set to work for her release," but now we must "respect the time of justice and let the procedures take their course." He added that President Asif Ali Zardari "agrees" on the need to release the child and is unsparing towards those associations and groups, who by exploiting Rimsha's drama are looking for publicity and money: "I ​​want to clarify that the family is in the custody of the Ministry for Harmony and under my responsibility as head of the department. The father has spoken to no-one outside of me and the institutions involved, so these petitions that are circulating to collect signatures with a letter from Misrek Masih to the head of state are absolutely false. "

The Islamabad court judges have extended the remand for Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl suffering from mental problems accused of blasphemy for having desecrated some pages containing verses of the Koran, for 14 days. This morning, the child made a surprise appearance in court, at the end of 14 days pre-trial detention pending the closing of investigations on the matter. The judge justified the extension to allow police time to present the charge sheet on the next hearing in two weeks. Tomorrow, however, the same court shall decide her lawyer's request for her release. In fact the lawyers promised that if, as they expect, bail is not granted, they will take the battle to the High Court.

Rimsha Masih is charged under the "black law" for having burned pages printed with verses from the Koran. Under the law she could face up to life in prison and there are fears of retaliation from elements close to the fundamentalist Taliban, which have repeatedly carried out the extra-judicial murders of persons indicted for blasphemy.

The judges have to decide whether to grant bail following a report by a court appointed medical board determined that the girl is under 14 years of age and shows a mental age lower than her chronological age (see AsiaNews 28/08 / 2012 Blasphemy, Rimsha Masih, minor with mental problems. Bishop of Islamabad: a positive outcome). However the nature of her mental affliction is not specified and the medical report is disputed by Islamists, who want a regular trial and subsequent punishment (see AsiaNews 30/08/2012, Islamabad, Islamic leaders challenge medical report, call for punishment of Rimsha Masih).

Speaking to AsiaNews about the judges' decision to extend her pre-trial detention, the bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Msgr. Rufin Anthony said that "it is sad to see the little girl still behind bars." The prelate added that humanitarian organizations are galvanising "a huge effort" for her cause, and "we are with them. We are concerned about the health of Rimsha and her security." For the representatives of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a movement founded by the Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, killed by Islamic extremists, today's verdict is "normal procedure" and they add: "The goal is the hearing tomorrow" . Even Haroon Barkat Masih, president of Life for All and Masihi Foundation, and Mehboob Alam of the Ephlal Development Foundation strongly criticize the judges' decision.

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
09/07/2012 PAKISTAN
Paul Bhatti: " joy and satisfaction” for Rimsha Masih’s release (on bail)
09/07/2012 PAKISTAN - ITALY
"I am very happy for my daughter's liberation," Rimsha Masih's father tells AsiaNews
by Dario Salvi
12/20/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih: My Christmas close to Asia Bibi and victims of blasphemy
by Dario Salvi
09/13/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih trial adjourned. Bishop of Islamabad calls for her acquittal
by Jibran Khan
09/03/2012 PAKISTAN
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.