Pakistan court acquits girl in blasphemy case

A Pakistani police officer and a Christian volunteer escort a young Christian girl accused of blasphemy to a helicopter following her release from prison on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Sept. 8, 2012. AP

Islamabad A defense lawyer says a Pakistani court has acquitted a Christian girl accused of blasphemy over the burning of the Muslim holy book.

Attorney Abdul Hameed says Tuesday's order exonerated his client for lack of evidence and dismissed the charges against her, concluding they were based on heresy and incriminated material that was planted in the girl's possession.

The case has caused an international outcry over Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, which are very popular in the country. A Muslim cleric was later accused of stashing pages of a Quran in the girl's bag to make it seem like she burned the Islamic holy book.

Police have also found the girl appeared to be under age and mentally impaired.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws carry life in prison or the death sentence.

A lawyer for the family said that neither the accused girl nor any of her family members were present in court on Tuesday.

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