No bail for Christian girl accused of blasphemy
A Christian girl accused of blasphemy will remain in custody after a Pakistani court adjourned the bail hearing until Monday because of incomplete documents, officials say.
Rimsha has been in custody for nearly two weeks after a Muslim neighbour complained that she had burned a book containing verses from the Koran on August 16.
Justice Azam Khan, the additional sessions judge, on Saturday adjourned the hearing after the prosecution pointed out that the bail application documents were not signed by anyone.
Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, the girl's lawyer, criticised the decision saying the prosecution was using delaying tactics.
"The doctors have already said that she is underage and of low intelligence levels. I think she should be released without any further delay," he said.
A panel of doctors last week determined that the girl, from a poor neighbourhood in Islamabad, was under 14 and had an IQ not on par with her age.
There have been conflicting reports about Rimsha's age and mental condition. While her family said she was about 11, police insisted she was 16.
When the case first came to light, police said she had Down Syndrome. Others have claimed she is mentally disabled.
Some Muslim religious leaders have criticized her arrest as a misuse of blasphemy laws, which were introduced in the 1980s by the former military ruler, Zia ul Haq.
A guilty verdict for a person accused of blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed or the Koran could result in a death sentence. However, the death penalty is not given to children aged 14 and under.