Islamabad (AsiaNews) - An Islamabad court has adjourned the trial of Rimsha
Masih, a Christian child with mental illness, arrested and imprisoned on charges
of blasphemy, who was not present in court for security reasons. This
morning, at a brief hearing, the judges emphasized that investigators have yet
to complete the investigation on the matter and close the file, which is why
they opted for a referral, even if the date has not yet been decided. The bishop of the capital Msgr. Rufin Anthony,
speaking to AsiaNews,
has launched a new appeal for the
release of the girl: "We ask
the judges - says the prelate - for her immediate acquittal" because she has not committed the crime.
fact, experts say the fate of the girl and the routines of the case will depend
very much on the parallel case against Maulana Khalid Chishti Jadoon, the
Islamic religious leader who mounted false accusations to incriminate the young
Christian and hunt the entire community from the area for seize their properties.
The first hearing of the trial against the Muslim cleric is scheduled for September 16 and expectations are already mounting as increasingly it is being seen as linked to the public debate for the "revision" of the blasphemy laws, which are too often exploited - as in this case - to target innocent people. A story that could become a "milestone" in the history of Pakistan and give rise to a change that puts an end to the "abuses" arising from the "black law". A battle, we recall, for which Shahbaz Bhatti, Catholic Minister for Minorities massacred by fundamentalists March 2, 2011, and before him, the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, who was killed by his bodyguard sacrificed their lives.
Thus the judges have preferred to adjourn Rimsha Masih's trial, who has been hidden in a secure location to avoid possible reprisals by the fundamentalist fringe. The court has granted another day to the police to complete the investigation, and are still waiting the girls lawyers plea, who have not yet asked for an acquittal. A decision that has raised some surprise, but it is - most likely - due to the desire to understand what direction will the prosecution of Khalid Chishti Jadoon will take.
The Bishop of Rawalpindi
/ Islamabad Rufin Anthony told AsiaNews,
has undergone a process of Islamization, particularly in terms of the misuse
and abuse of the blasphemy laws contained in section 295-C, an offense that is
punishable by death. The use of this bylaw has creating an environment where
some religious fanatics believe that they are entitled to take law into their
own hands. There have been many instances where the local administration and
police have either collude with perpetrators or have stood by and do nothing to
assist the accused, themselves fearing the crowd. The use of the blasphemy law
has become a quick way of resolving disputes arising from business rivalry,
honor disputes, disputes over money and property. Those accused of blasphemy
face the very real threat of assassination whilst on trial or on bail. There
have been many examples of extrajudicial killings, threats to life, revenge
being taken by communities in response to the accusations."
On 7 September, the judges decreed her release on bail, greeted with satisfaction by Christian leaders and her family in an interview with our newsagency (see AsiaNews 07/09/2012 "I am very happy for my daughter's liberation," Rimsha Masih's father tells AsiaNews, and Paul Bhatti: " joy and satisfaction" for Rimsha Masih's release (on bail)). Her freedom cost one million rupees (about 9 thousand euro) and any possible refund depends on the defendant's presence in court at the hearing in which the closure of investigations will be decreed.