Will Plight of Girl With Down Syndrome Prompt End of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law?

Controversy surrounding the arrest of a young Christian girl with Down Syndrome on blasphemy charges may be the start of the end of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law — at least, such are the hopes of religious freedom groups worldwide.

Today a judge delayed bail for Rimsha Masih, arrested earlier this month on blasphemy charges, questioning the validity of a medical report confirming the girl’s age and mental condition. Masih’s lawyer is confident she will be released on bail later this week. However, he expects the case will take years to resolve.

Masih was arrested last week, but her hearing was delayed until today after a team of medical experts determined the girl to be a minor, which will transfer her case to a juvenile court.

Even Islamic leaders in Pakistan offered their support to Masih, whose case has intensified demands by religious groups for the Pakistani government to reform the law.

President Asif Zadari has called for a report on the incident, though he has withheld support for the law’s reform.
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