Afghan Rape Victim Pardoned But Set to Marry Attacker

Posted December 1st, 2011 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the release of a rape victim who was jailed for adultery after being raped.

The president's office said Thursday that the woman, named Gulnaz, and her attacker have agreed to marry.

Gulnaz was sentenced to 12 years in prison after reporting that a relative had raped her.

Mr. Karzai announced her pardon after a meeting with judiciary officials and receiving a petition for her release with nearly 5,000 signatures.

The woman has been raising a child she had by her attacker while in a Kabul prison.

Gulnaz's story was featured in a documentary on female prisoners that was commissioned and later blocked by the European Union due to concerns over the safety of those interviewed.

The case highlights the plight of Afghan women, 10 years after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban-led government from power.

Under Taliban rule in the 1990's women in Afghanistan were not allowed to go to work, get an education or leave the house without being escorted by a man.

Human rights activists have expressed concerns about the protection of women as international forces begin withdrawing from the country this year.

In northern Afghanistan, an teenager and her family were attacked with acid this week, after reportedly rejecting a marriage proposal.

The girl, Mumtaz, had been proposed to by a former militia commander. Her parents say the family turned him down and Mumtaz got engaged to someone else.

A group of armed men burst into their home in Kunduz city earlier this week, and attacked the family. The men beat the parents and their three daughters and then sprayed acid on Mumtaz's face before fleeing.

Afghan officials have launched an investigation into the attack and authorities were searching for the assailants.

In the second quarter of 2011 alone, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission registered more than 1,000 cases of violence against women.