Pakistan arrests cleric who accused girl of blasphemy
Pakistani police have arrested a Muslim cleric who accused a Christian girl of blasphemy on suspicion that he planted evidence, a police officer said Sunday, the latest twist in a religiously charged case that has focused attention on Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws.
Critics of Pakistan's blasphemy laws say they can be used to settle vendettas or seek retribution. Many of Pakistan's minorities, including Christians, live in fear of being accused of the offence.
People accused of the crime, even those that aren't convicted, often face vigilante justice by outraged Pakistanis. A Pakistani man accused of blasphemy in July was dragged from a police station in the centre of the country, beaten to death and his body set on fire.
Few are willing to tackle the explosive issue after two prominent politicians who criticized the law were murdered last year. One was killed by his own bodyguard, who then attracted adoring crowds.
The Associated Press Posted: Sep 2, 2012 11:37 AM ET
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