Pakistan Court Acquits Christian Girl of Blasphemy

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A defense lawyer says a Pakistani court has acquitted a Christian girl accused of burning a Quran.

Attorney Abdul Hameed says Tuesday's order exonerated his client for lack of evidence and dismissed the blasphemy charges against her, concluding they were based on material that was planted in the girl's possession.

A Muslim cleric was later accused of stashing pages of a Quran in the girl's bag to make it seem like she burned the Islamic holy book.

The case caused an international outcry over Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, which carry life in prison or the death sentence.

Katrina Lantos Swett, who chairs the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, called the exoneration "encouraging" but expressed concern that the girl and her family could still be at risk of attack by angry mobs.

Lantos Swett said the case highlights the need for Pakistan to "reform or repeal" a blasphemy law that's often abused.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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