Free Pakistani teen jailed for blasphemy, Human Rights Watch says

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Pakistan must immediately drop blasphemy charges against a teenager and let him out of jail, Human Rights Watch said.

“Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on  an exam paper is truly appalling,” Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights  researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Wednesday.

Police told CNN Tuesday that they had arrested a teenager accused of  writing insulting comments about Muslim prophet Mohammed in a school exam.

The controversial laws say whoever defiles the name of the prophet shall be punished by death or imprisoned for life.

The laws came into sharp focus late last year when liberal Pakistani politician Salman Taseer was gunned down after leading a public campaign to change them.

Taseer said the laws were being misused to persecute minorities.

Mr Taseer, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party and a close ally of the president, Asif Ali Zardari, had been campaigning on behalf of Asia Bibi, an illiterate Christian farm worker who in the course of a row with neighbours over drinking water was accused of blasphemy, convicted and sentenced to death:

Editorial note: it is our policy to file stories about Islamic extremism under the heading ‘hate groups.’ We believe that in today’s world there is no place for Islam-inspired hatred. This is also why we oppose any attempts by Muslims to use or promote Sharia (Islamic law) in civilized countries.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 21, 2013