Asia

Pakistani girl falsely accused of blasphemy 'in Canada'

  • 29 June 2013
  • From the section Asia
Pakistani security personnel move Rimsha Masih (2L), a Christian girl accused of blasphemy, to a helicopter after her release from jail in Rawalpindi on September 8, 2012.
Image caption Rimsha and her family received death threats and were forced into hiding

A Pakistani Christian girl who was falsely accused of blasphemy has fled to Canada with her family, a Christian organisation says.

Rimsha Masih, aged 14, was detained in a maximum security prison for several weeks in August 2012, accused of burning pages from the Koran.

The case attracted widespread international concern.

Although charges against Rimsha were dropped, she and her family were forced into hiding after death threats.

Rimsha, who is believed to have learning difficulties, was arrested in a Christian area of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, after a furious crowd demanded she be punished.

A local Muslim cleric has since been accused of framing her.

'Free'

The teenager has now settled in Canada with her family, although their exact location has not been made public.

A Christian activist in Canada told the BBC that the teenager was learning English and enjoying school. "They feel free," he said.

Critics have accused Pakistani courts of using the country's harsh blasphemy laws to target members of minority religions, according to the BBC's Orla Guerin, in Islamabad.

There seems little chance of a change in the law, our correspondent adds.

At least two prominent Pakistani politicians who had campaigned for a change in law have been killed in recent years.

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