Asian Human Rights Commission: In the capital of Pakistan where there are many government and non-governmental institutions working for the protection of child rights, special children rights, human rights and the rights of women, only one of them have come out calling for the release of Ms. Rimsha, the 14-year-old Christian girl who has been charged with blasphemy. It has now been revealed that Rimsha does not suffer from Down’s syndrome but is, in fact, a slow learner with a mental age of around 10 or 11.
Rimsha has been charged under the country’s blasphemy law which carries the death penalty and has now made two court appearances. In the first hearing the judge refused bail, citing the fear of retaliation by Islamic fanatics. Today, (30 August) she was presented to the Additional Session Judge, Raja Jawad Hassan Abass, in Islamabad for her bail petition. The lawyer from the All Pakistan Minority Movement, Mr. Chaudry Tahir Nazir, who is also a member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, produced a medical certificate from the medical board of the Poly Clinic Hospital, an official hospital, that she has been declared by the medical board to be a slow learner and illiterate, so she should be granted bail. Ms. Rimsha has little or no education and cannot read or write; she cannot recognise any letters or numericals. This in itself should be evidence enough that she had no intention of insulting Islam by the blasphemous act of burning the Holy Book, the Quran. However, the judge refused to accept the contents of the medical report and used the excuse that, as he had not asked the lawyer to convene a medical board he was under no obligation to accept the findings. The previous board was made on the orders of President Zardari which was also refused by the Additional Session judge.