Afghan president pardons imprisoned rape victim - after she agrees to marry attacker - International outrage over plight
by The Associated Press Friday, December 2 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday pardoned an Afghan woman serving a 12-year prison sentence for having sex out of wedlock after she was raped by a relative.
Karzai’s office said in a statement that the woman and her attacker have agreed to marry. That would reverse an earlier decision by the 19-year-old woman, who had previously refused a judge’s offer of freedom if she agreed to marry the rapist....
About half of the 300 to 400 women jailed in Afghanistan are imprisoned for so-called “moral crimes” such as sex outside marriage, or running away from their husbands, according to reports by the United Nations and research organizations. Fleeing husbands isn’t considered a crime in Afghanistan.
The EU welcomed the woman’s release.
“Her case has served to highlight the plight of Afghan women, who 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban regime often continue to suffer in unimaginable conditions, deprived of even the most basic human rights,” the European Union’s Ambassador and Special Representative to Afghanistan, Vygaudas Usackas, said....
Some of the most severe restrictions women faced under the Taliban, like a ban on attending schools and having to have a male escort to venture outside the home, were done away with when the radical Islamic movement was driven from power in 2001. But Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative and male-dominated society, meaning women are still sold to husbands and rights enshrined in law are often ignored in practice.