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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
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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