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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 01/16/2013
PAKISTAN
Supreme Court upholds Rinsha Masih's innocence, Paul Batthi satisfied
Pakistan's highest court rejects prosecutors' appeal. For the Christian girl's lawyers, the verdict "sends out a positive image of Pakistan". Paul Bhatti tells AsiaNews that they did not flee but placed their faith in the justice system.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistan's Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Christian girl accused of committing blasphemy. The verdict was announced yesterday during the first hearing, further evidence that the judges are convinced of the girl's innocence. The mentally disabled girl was arrested in August 2012 on the basis of the 'black law'. She was later released on bail and eventually acquitted during her trial.

Reached by phone, Federal Minister Paul Bhatti, currently on a speaking tour of the United States, told AsiaNews that he was satisfied by the decision, which confirms that "Rimsha Masih is innocent".

A special advisor to the prime minister on national harmony, Bhatti said that Pakistani Christians are also very satisfied by the decision because "justice was done," showing once more in a courtroom that "Rimsha Masih is innocent".

Although this period was "stressful and tense, in the end justice prevailed and we got a positive verdict," the Catholic minister said. Rather than spirit away the girl and her family, "we went through the trial and are now satisfied," he added.

The case reached the Supreme Court when Malik Ummad, Rimsha's accuser, sought to re-open Rimsha's case through his lawyers who filed an appeal against the lower court's acquittal.

He had claimed of seeing the girl burn pages of the Qur'an and warned cleric Khalid Jadoon Chishti who filed a report with police. Prosecutors had tried to reopen the case to get the Christian girl convicted but failed. Now her accuser is on trial for blasphemy and slander.

The bench that made the final decision included the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honourable Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary, and Justices Sh. Azmat Saeed and Gulzar Ahmad.

It took them a single hearing to dismiss the case against the girl, who was represented by Abdul Hameed Rana, assisted by Akmal Bhatti and Tahir Naveed Chaudhary.

The verdict "sends out a positive image of Pakistan in the international community that there is justice for all," said Tahir Naveed Chaudhry.

After her arrest in August on blasphemy charges for allegedly desecrating the Qur'an, a judge in Islamabad ordered the girl released on bail on 7 September. However, the accusations were however false, created by cleric Khalid Jadoon Chishti who sought to stir hatred towards Christians in order to seize their assets.

Two months later, on 20 November, the Islamabad High Court acquitted the 14-year-old Catholic girl for not committing the offence.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with AsiaNews on Christmas Eve, the girl, who is in a safe place, launched an appeal with the help of Catholic activists from the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) on behalf of Asia Bibi and other Christian victims of blasphemy. (DS)


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See also
08/30/2012 PAKISTAN
For Islamists, no "sympathy" for Rimsha Masih who must be judged "according to the law"
10/17/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih's trial adjourned to 14 November as anti-Christian violence continues
09/13/2012 PAKISTAN
Rimsha Masih trial adjourned. Bishop of Islamabad calls for her acquittal
by Jibran Khan
09/01/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistan, Rimsha Masih bail hearing adjourned
by Shafique Khokhar
11/20/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians happy about Rimsha Masih verdict, Islamists talk about "manipulation"
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
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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