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Pakistani Girl Charged With Blasphemy To Be Tried As Juvenile

Security officials surround Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl who is thought to be 14 or so and with learning disabilities, as she's moved to a helicopter after her release on bail from Adyala jail in Rawalpindi on September 8.
A teenage Christian girl in Pakistan who is accused of blasphemy will stand trial as a juvenile, a Pakistani court has ruled.

The case has attracted broad attention because of the severity of Pakistan's blasphemy law and the vulnerability of society's weakest members to its enforcement.

Rimsha Masih is believed to be 14, but her mental age could be lower due to learning disabilities.

She has been accused of burning pages of the Koran, although police reports say there are no witnesses or evidence of any crime.

An investigating police officer has accused local imam Khalid Jadoon Chishti of deliberately tearing the pages out of a Koran and planting them so Masih would appear to be the culprit.

Since she will be tried as juvenile, Masih faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

If she had been tried as an adult, she could have been jailed for life.

She was arrested on August 16 and has since been released on bail.

Chishti was taken into police custody after being accused of "deliberately stuffing pages of the Holy Koran" into a bag containing burned pages from a book that's used to familiarize children with Arabic words before they study the Muslim holy book.

Based on reporting by dpa, AFP, and AP