February 1, 2012
A judge has denied bail to a young Christian man charged with desecrating the Quran under Pakistan's blasphemy laws despite the lack of evidence against him, Compass Direct News reports. Police in Shahdara, near Lahore, arrested 23-year-old Khuram Masih on Dec. 5 after his Muslim landlord alleged that he burned pages of the book to prepare tea. Masih said he was falsely accused because he and his landlord had had an argument, and police could not found any incriminating evidence, but a judge refused to grant him bail on grounds that the case was "very sensitive, and bail to the accused would fan religious sentiments and cause a great mishap." Pakistan's blasphemy law makes willful desecration of the Quran or use of an extract in a derogatory manner punishable with life imprisonment.