Down's syndrome girl arrested

2012-08-19 13:11

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Islamabad - The arrest of a girl with Down's syndrome in Pakistan for allegedly burning pages from the Qur'an has prompted fears of a backlash in her Christian community, police said on Sunday.

The 11-year-old was arrested late on Thursday in the predominantly Christian slum of Meherabadi in Islamabad after locals laid a complaint with police, area police officer Qasim Niazi told dpa.

"Some local people had seen her burning pages of Holy Qur'an in front of her home, they captured her and brought to police station," said Niazi.

The girl had been unable to answer the questions during police interrogation and medical examination confirmed she had Down's syndrome.

The incident, which is still under investigation, prompted Christians in Meherabadi to flee due to fears of a backlash from the Muslim population.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan.

The laws enacted under military ruler Zaiul Haq in the 1980s are seen to be open to abuse and have been under the spotlight since the assassination of Salman Tasee, a governor of Punjab, in 2011.

Tasee had criticised the blasphemy laws after a Christian woman was sentenced to death at a trial.

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