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Pakistan's 'blasphemy girl' Rimsha Masih released, helicoptered to family members

Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl accused of blasphemy sits in helicopter after her release from jail in Rawalpindi on September 8, 2012. Masih was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning pages containing verses from the Koran but she was released from a prison in Rawalpindi after a court accepted her bail application.
Credit: Farooq Naeem

Rimsha Masih, the Christian girl whose blasphemy case has attracted worldwide attention, left prison today and was helicoptered to be reunited with her family at an undisclosed location, according to SKY News

"She has been freed from the jail and was transported by a helicopter to a safe place" where "family members received her," SKY quoted national harmony minister Paul Bhatti as saying. 

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Masih was arrested August 16 and charged with burning pages from the Quran in a high-profile case that saw the Vatican come to her defense

The illiterate girl, whose is reported to be anywhere from 11 to 16 years old and may have Down Syndrome, was released Friday on two surety bonds worth 500,000 rupees ($5,200).

Pakistani television today reportedly showed her getting into a government helicopter wearing a loose-fitting green outfit. Pakistan's Dawn said a "large number of security personnel, along with members of the Christian community, were present outside Adiala Jail" to see her off. 

GlobalPost reported that authorities blocked an earlier bail request over concerns for the girl's safety, presumably due to fears of retaliation attacks amid reports that she had been framed. (The suspected Muslim cleric has been charged with blasphemy himself and will face trial, CNN said, citing local officials.)

Burning a sacred Islamic text in Pakistan can result in a life sentence, while insulting the prophet Mohammed is punishable by death.

Fearing attacks, over 2,000 Christians in her hometown went into hiding following her arrest, according to Pakistan's Daily Times

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