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Amnesty Urges Islamabad To Protect Girl Charged With Blasphemy

Youngsters play near the house of a Christian girl who was arrested on charges of blasphemy in a low-income slum in Islamabad.
Amnesty International has urged Pakistan to reform its antiblasphemy laws and protect a young Christian girl arrested for allegedly burning pages with verses from the Koran.

Rimsha, who is between 10 and 13 years old and is reported to have Down syndrome, was taken into custody in a slum of Islamabad on August 16 after furious Muslims demanded she be punished.

Polly Truscott, Amnesty International's South Asia director, said the case showed the "erosion of the rule of law" in Pakistan and the dangers faced by those accused of blasphemy.

The Muslim-majority nation's strict antiblasphemy laws make defaming Islam or desecrating the Koran potentially punishable by death.

Religious intolerance in Pakistan is seen as increasing following last year assassinations of a leading politician and a Christian cabinet minister. Both opposed the anti-blasphemy law.

With reporting by AFP