Pakistani girl released from prison

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Charlie Butts (

With the release of a 14-year-old Christian girl accused of blasphemy, Voice of the Martyrs is asking Christians to remember their persecuted brothers and sisters in Pakistan.

Todd Nettleton, director of media development for VOM, explains that the girl, who is mentally impaired, was jailed for three weeks after being accused of burning pages of the Quran.

Nettleton, Todd (VOM)"We at Voice of the Martyrs are very encouraged by the release of Rimsha [Masih]. This is a great sign when the justice department steps in and there really is something approaching justice," Nettleton says. "When somebody who has been falsely accused is allowed to return to their family, that's a huge 'praise the Lord.'"

Although taken by helicopter to a secret location, the blasphemy charges are still on the books. A Muslim cleric has been accused of planting the evidence.

Meanwhile, other Christians remain jailed under the blasphemy law, including Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death.

"As we see this case of Rimsha, it does show that international pressure can work; international voices can be heard and can sort of move things in Pakistan," the VOM spokesman asserts. "So, I think we need to remember that as it relates to Asia Bibi, because we obviously want to increase the international calls for justice for her as well."

Nettleton says the fact that a Muslim cleric was arrested in connection with Rimsha Masih's case brings hope that the blasphemy law, which has often been wrongly applied to Christians, will be reexamined.

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