An 11-year-old girl thought to suffer from Down’s Syndrome is facing the death penalty in Pakistan for apparently burning pages from the Koran.
Furious mobs of Muslim locals gathered outside the home of Christian girl Rifta Masih after she was found with charred pages of the Islamic holy book.
She was arrested and has been held in custody for the last 14 days under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. A conviction could see her executed.
A Pakistani police officer, Zabi Ullah, said today that the girl was arrested after hundreds of neighbors gathered outside her house in Mehrabadi, a poor outlying district of the capital, Islamabad.
He said the police took the girl to the police station, and that she’s been held for 14 days while authorities investigate.
‘About 500-600 people had gathered outside her house in Islamabad, and they were very emotional, angry and they might have harmed her if we had not quickly reacted,’ he said.
‘Some Muslims from the area claim the girl had burned pages of the Koran, and we are investigating, and we have not reached any conclusion,’ he said.
Another police official, Qasim Niazi, said when the girl was brought to the police station she had a shopping bag that contained various religious and Arabic-language papers that had been partly burned but no Koran.