The Guardian—Human rights activists have warned of an new assault on women's rights in Afghanistan after judges and prosecutors allowed the early release of three people convicted for the brutal torture of a child bride, and conservative lawmakers made an aggressive bid to prevent relatives testifying against each other.
If successful, the small change – introduced covertly into the criminal prosecution code – would stop the vast majority of cases of violence against women from ever reaching court.
Together with the quashing of three convictions for the attempted murder of the teenager Sahar Gul, it marks an alarming two-pronged assault on women's rights by both those who make the laws and those tasked with upholding them.
"The last two months have really been a parade of horrible for women's rights in Afghanistan," said Heather Barr, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, warning that the proposed change to the criminal code would leave most abused women with no legal protection against violence.
"Underage marriage, forced marriage, domestic violence, sale of women – these crimes are almost always committed against women by family members, whether through birth or through marriage."
The 10-year sentences handed down to Gul's tormentors last year was hailed as an important step forward, after her case horrified Afghanistan and prompted a bout of national soul-searching.
She was sold as a wife when she was an illiterate 12-year-old and her in-laws wasted little time embarking on a campaign of almost unimaginable torture. They starved her, chained her in a basement bathroom, beat her, burned her with red-hot metal pipes and pulled her fingernails out.
By the end of her ordeal she could no longer walk, and was rescued from her makeshift prison in a wheelbarrow. But last week, according to her lawyer and women's activists, a court ordered the release of Gul's mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law saying there was no proof of abuse. (Continue Reading.)
Friday, July 12, 2013
Afghan Judge Frees In-Laws Who Tortured Child-Bride Sahar Gul
An update on this horrifying story.