Pakistan Cleric Arrested for Evidence Tampering in Blasphemy Case

Posted September 2nd, 2012 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani police have arrested a Muslim cleric on suspicion that he planted evidence against a Christian girl accused of blasphemy.

A police official said Khalid Jadoon, a prayer leader at a mosque in Islamabad, was arrested Saturday for allegedly placing pages of the Quran in the girl's shopping bag.

According to police, members of the mosque where the cleric works came forward saying he tampered with the evidence saying it was a way to expel Christians from the area.

Police arrested the girl more than two weeks ago after angry neighbors surrounded her house in Islamabad, accusing her of burning pages inscribed with verses from the Quran. A bail hearing will be held for the girl Monday.

Jadoon, who appeared in court Sunday, told reporters that the allegations against him were fabricated.

Under Pakistan's blasphemy law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed commits a crime and faces the death penalty.

The Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, is about 14 years old and suffers from Down syndrome

Human rights activists say the blasphemy law in Pakistan is sometimes used to harass religious minorities.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Khan Babar has said blasphemy cannot be condoned, but no one would be allowed to use it to settle personal scores.

Two prominent Pakistani politicians were killed in 2011 for speaking out against the country's blasphemy law.