Thursday, March 29, 2012

Imprisoned by injustice in Afghanistan

Hundreds of Afghan women are languishing in prison for so-called moral crimes according to a report released by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) today. These crimes include fleeing domestic abuse, forced prostitution and in one case being stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver by an abusive husband.

The group estimated there are a total of 400 women in prison and girls in juvenile detention facilities in Afghanistan, who have been accused or convicted on questionable offences. Judges often convict solely on the basis of ‘confessions’ given in the absence of lawyers and ‘signed’ without having been read out-loud to women who cannot read or write. After conviction, women routinely face long prison sentences, which in some cases can be more than 10 years.

In a deeply conservative society, many of the 58 inmates interviewed for the report expressed fears that they could be murdered by their families for reasons of “honour” after being released.

HRW quoted a woman sentenced to three years in prison after fleeing a father-in-law who raped her as saying: “I am happy in here. Here I am not afraid because I know no-one is coming in the night to kill me.” Read More