December 3, 2011
Afghanistan has pardoned a woman who was raped by a family member but then jailed for adultery, a statement from the presidential palace has said, in a case that highlights deep concerns about women’s rights in the country. It remained unclear whether the 21-year-old-woman, known as Gulnaz, would still have to marry the man who attacked her, her cousin’s husband, after an earlier release offer which stipulated they must marry.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s palace issued the statement pardoning Gulnaz late on Thursday, a rare pardon in such a case in staunchly conservative Muslim Afghanistan. “After assessing Gulnaz’s case, (they) decided that her remaining sentence in jail should be pardoned under the current rules and regulations of the country and she should be released,” the palace statement said.
Her case attracted international attention after she took part in a documentary film commissioned by the European Union but later withheld.
Gulnaz had eventually agreed to the condition she marry her attacker but it was not clear whether she still intended to marry the man, her lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said. Her attacker is serving a 7-year prison term for the crime.