LHC frees blasphemy accused after 14 years

Lahore High Court on Thursday released a mentally ill woman held without trial for 14 years on blasphemy allegations.

Afp July 22, 2010
LHC frees blasphemy accused after 14 years

LAHORE: Lahore  High Court on Thursday released a mentally ill woman held without trial for 14 years on allegations of desecrating the Quran, her lawyer and court officials said.

Despite "no evidence" being found against 60-year-old Zaibul Nisa, she had been left to languish in the prison section of a mental asylum since 1996, the court said. Nisa's family did not challenge her detention, according to her lawyer.

Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, Khawaja Mohammad Sharif, "has ordered the release of Zaibul Nisa after no evidence was found against her," a court official told AFP. "The chief justice expressed his dismay over keeping the woman confined so long without any trial," the official said.

Nisa was arrested in the town of Rawat, near the capital Islamabad, after a local resident filed a complaint at a police station that someone had desecrated the Quran, defence lawyer Aftab Ahmad Bajwa said. Bajwa said that Nisa's name was not even mentioned in the police complaint. "Nobody, not even her relatives, pursued the case. She was sent to jail and then forgotten by everyone," Bajwa told AFP, who took up her case last year for humanitarian reasons.

Complainant Qari Mohammad Hafeez told reporters at the hearing that he had not specified anyone by name in his submission and that police had arrested Nisa of their own accord.

Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law carries the death penalty -- although no one has ever been sent to the gallows for the crime. Two Christian brothers accused of writing a blasphemous pamphlet critical of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) were shot dead on Monday outside a court in the eastern Pakistani city of Faisalabad. Human rights activists want the legislation repealed, saying it is exploited for personal enmity and encourages religious extremism.


Anwar Ahmad | 13 years ago | Reply This is not the only unfortunate case where anyone accused of Blasphemy has languished in Jail for years before acquittal from higher court. Last month another person was freed after seven years when LHC finally acquitted him after being sentenced for life in a fabricated blasphemy case from a lower court. This and other similar laws denying freedom of religion must be repealed at the earliest and statue books must be freed from theocracy.
Fakeha Aasim | 13 years ago | Reply who knows ,perhaps its a plot again st the woman form the begining by her family, she must have stood up for her rights or something related ot property.If you put the facts straight it is impossible for a family to forget about a member which is thrown away in jail...talk about conveninece.Shame on the family
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