- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Muslim cleric accused of planting evidence
Question of the Day
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani police arrested a Muslim cleric who allegedly tampered with evidence submitted in the case against a Christian girl accused of desecrating a Koran, an investigating officer said Sunday, the latest twist in a religiously charged affair that has focused attention on the country’s harsh blasphemy laws.
The case against the Christian girl accused of burning pages of a Koran has sparked controversy at home and abroad in large part because of her age and questions about her mental capacity.
It also has triggered an exodus of hundreds of Christians from the neighborhood where the girl lived, fearful of retribution by their Muslim neighbors outraged by the alleged desecration of Islam’s holy book.
The cleric, Khalid Chishti, was arrested late Saturday for allegedly planting pages of a Koran in a shopping bag containing burned papers and ash that had been carried by the Christian girl, said Munir Jaffery, an investigating officer in the case. The bag was then submitted as evidence to the police.
Mr. Jaffery said a member of the mosque where the cleric works came forward Saturday and testified that the imam had placed the evidence in the bag. According to police, the man claimed Mr. Chishti said it was a way to get rid of the Christians.
The man’s testimony only surfaced more than two weeks after the girl had first been arrested, raising questions about why he did not come forward sooner.
The girl later was accused of desecrating the Koran, a serious offense in Pakistan that can result in life in prison.
The Associated Press is withholding the girl’s name. The AP does not generally identify juveniles under 18 who are accused of crimes.
Mr. Chishti appeared in court Sunday with a white blindfold covering his eyes and shackles around his hands.
He was surrounded by a large contingent of police as he was ushered into the courtroom.
“I have not done anything wrong. This is all fabrication,” he defiantly told reporters.
A lawyer for the girl said her legal team was meeting to discuss what to do and would likely move to have the case thrown out.
“These things prove that we are definitely on the right way,” the lawyer, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said.
He said the imam’s arrest shows his client is innocent. “Definitely she will be released,” he said.
The case has provoked an outcry from international human rights activists, and has shone an uncomfortable spotlight on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors