A Pakistani court has granted bail to Rimsha Masih, a young learning-challenged girl who is facing the death penalty for blasphemy. But her life is still in grave danger.
When Rimsha was arrested several weeks ago after an angry mob accused her of desecrating the Koran, her desperate father used Avaaz's new Community Petitions site to start a campaign calling on Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari to step in, and to protect all of Pakistan's vulnerable minorities (Rimsha's family is Christian). Over 1 million citizens across the world have signed.
As the global outcry intensified, a local imam was arrested and accused of framing the evidence used against her. Now Rimsha has been released on bail – but this move brings with it a whole new danger.
Many of her supporters fear she and her family are at risk of mob violence, as passions over the incident are still running high. Meanwhile, the charges against her have yet to be dropped.
Pakistan's politicians and lawmakers need to be brave, and address the widespread abuse of blasphemy laws that Rimsha's case has raised. A disproportionate number of people from minorities and in some cases the mentally ill have been accused of blasphemy – often when community tensions or feuds over land are the driving force.
Sources: Avaaz, BBC, Guardian, Washington Post