Rimsha Masih, the Pakistani Christian teenager who has been in prison for weeks on blasphemy charges, will be freed on bail to await trial, the Guardian reports. A local mullah had accused Masih, who has Down’s Syndrome, of burning pages from a Quran. This week, however, the mullah’s colleagues accused him of framing Masih by planting incriminating evidence on her as part of a plot to drive Christians from the neighborhood. A senior Muslim cleric subsequently spoke in Masih’s defense and personally guaranteed her safety if the court were to release her. The case has shed light on Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which, detractors claim, is often used as a pretext for settling scores with Christians and other religious minorities. Ali Dayan Hasan, the Pakistani director of Human Rights Watch, says that he hopes the Masih case will lead to re-examination of the law, but other experts have expressed doubt about the possibility of reform. The law enjoys great popular support in Pakistan.
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