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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Zina – Moral Insanity

Update 14th Jan 2012:

After much international condemnation President Hamid Karzai intervened and Gulnaz was pardoned. She now lives in a 'safehouse' with other victims of violence. She wants to go home but cannot return home unless her rapist agrees to marry her and can come up with a substantial dowery. Otherwise she would bring shame on her family and both her and her child would be in danger of becoming victims of 'honour killing.' She has little hope of being able to support her baby or herself except that a lawyer has started a campaign to raise money for her should marrying her rapist fail.

It appears that the rape would have gone unreported except Gulnaz got pregnant. Most rapes go unreported in Afghanistan because the girl's life is ruined if it becomes known.

Half of Afghanistan's women prisoners are inmates for "zina" or moral crimes. Some of the women convicted of "zina" are guilty of nothing more than running away from forced marriages or violent husbands. A documentary commissioned by the EU told the story of a 19-year-old prisoner called Gulnaz.

After she was raped, she was charged with adultery. Her baby girl, born following the rape, is serving her sentence with her.

"At first my sentence was two years," Gulnaz said, as her baby coughed in her arms. "When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?"

For Gulnaz there is now the hope of freedom. Her name is on a list of women to be pardoned, according to a prison official, but as she has no lawyer, the paperwork has yet to be processed.

Gulnaz's pardon may be in the works because she has agreed - after 18 months of resisting - to marry her rapist. "I need my daughter to have a father," she said.

The EU has blocked the release of the documentary citing concerns for the women’s safety!!???