Pakistani Police Arrest 11yo for Blasphemy: Rimsha Masih held in Islamabad, Christians Protest
Dozens of Pakistani Christians have staged a protest in Karachi condemning the arrest of Rimsha Masih, a young girl arrested last week on charges of blasphemy. Information on Masih is conflicting, with some reports saying she is 11-years-old and has Down's syndrome, whilst police claim she is 16 and mentally sound. She was accused by her neighbours of burning Islamic religious texts, and is currently detained in Islamabad, while protests go on and debate on the subject spreads across the globe. Convictions in blasphemy cases are common, and whilst the death penalty is available to prosecutors it has never been used. Last year Pakistan's minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti was shot dead after having received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws. Rights activists argue that the laws are often used to resolve petty squabbles, and are so vague and open to interpretation as to be easily misused by the authorities.