Tortured Afghan Girl Wants In-Laws Jailed

Posted January 7th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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A 15-year-old Afghan girl who was brutally tortured, allegedly at the hands of her in-laws, wants them jailed for their crimes.

Sahar Gul spoke to a reporter from her hospital bed Saturday, saying her husband, sister-in-law and father-in-law needed to be put in prison. She accused them of giving her electric shocks and beating her with cables.

Police found Gul last month in a windowless room in the basement of her husband's house in northeastern Baghlan province. They said she had been severely beaten on her face and legs.

She told investigators she had also been tortured with pliers and that her mother-in-law shaved her head and pulled out her fingernails.

The doctor treating Gul said Saturday that the teen is getting better by the day and that her injuries are only 30 to 40 percent healed. The doctor also said that Gul still suffers emotionally.

Police began searching after her family reported her missing. Officials say Gul was locked in the small, windowless room after her in-laws tried to force her into prostitution and she refused.

The Interior Ministry said Sahar Gul's mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been arrested and police are seeking her husband and father-in-law. The Associated Press reports Gul's husband is a soldier in the Afghan military.

Gul, from the northern province of Badakhshan, was married about seven months ago when she was just 14 years old. Investigators say she was locked away about two months later, but Gul said the torture began right after she was married.

Afghan laws set the marriage age for girls at 16, and Gul's marriage was not officially registered at a court, as is the case with most marriages in the country.

Almost half of Afghan women are married early, before the age of 16. Young mothers are particularly vulnerable to pregnancy and birth-related death and morbidities.

President Hamid Karzai ordered an official Interior Ministry investigation, saying whoever used violence against Gul will be punished.