Girl bailed over 'blasphemy'

A court has granted bail to Rimsha Masih, thought to be eleven, who was arrested under Pakistan's anti-blasphemy law accused of burning Islamic religious texts. A Muslim cleric has been arrested on suspicion of framing her.

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Imam arrested over allegations he framed Christian girl

The Muslim cleric was arrested after witnesses complained about his alleged actions, Pakistan police official Munir Hussain Jafri said.

"Witnesses complained that he had torn pages from a Koran and placed them in her [Rimsha Masih's] bag, which had burned papers," Jafri told the Reuters news agency.

Under the law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty.

Rimsha, whose case has re-focused a spotlight on Pakistan's anti-blasphemy law, is set to attend a bail hearing tomorrow.

There have been conflicting reports about Rimsha's age and her mental state - some claim she is 11 and has Down's Syndrome, but others have said she is around four years old.

Imam arrested in Pakistan blasphemy case

Residents and media gather outside a mosque near Rimsha Masih's home Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

A Muslim cleric has been arrested in Pakistan over allegations he framed a Christian girl to ensure her arrest under the country's anti-blasphemy law, a police official said today.

The girl, Rimsha Masih, was detained in August after she was accused by her Muslim neighbours of burning Islamic religious texts.

Rimsha's arrest caused controversy in Pakistan and abroad and sparked an exodus of Christians from the neighbourhood where she lived.

The cleric, Khalid Chishti, was arrested last night for allegedly hiding burned pages of the Koran in the girl's shopping bag in a bid to frame her, according to the Associated Press.


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