Afghanistan: Woman Jailed for Being Raped Faces Risk of Additional Harm

After being convicted of “forced adultery,” Afghani citizen Gulnaz was jailed for two years before international pressure mounted for her release. President Hamid Karzai pardoned Gulnaz of her conviction of this “moral crime.” She is now free and living in a government-run safe house with her child, a little girl born while she was in prison. In an interview with Radio Free Europe’s affiliate, Radio Afghanistan, Gulnaz explained her dilemma even as she rejoiced in her freedom.

After she was pardoned by President Karzai, judicial officials encouraged her to marry her rapist, who is in prison. They reportedly worried for her safety if she were to return home unwed. Such situations often lead to “honor killings.” While Gulnaz said she was worried about her future, she also said she was not afraid of anyone in her family. When asked what she wants to do with her life, she said she really does want to marry her rapist in order to secure a safer, brighter future for their daughter. “I urge President Karzai to release him as well so that he can marry me, and so I will be able to go with him to my home. I have a little baby girl who is often ill, and I have my own [health] problems as well. . . [T]hey have pardoned me and put me here. But there is no one to take me back to my home.”

Gulnaz explained that she doesn’t believe the government officials who have promised to return her to her home. And while she says she does not fear her brothers, she also explains that they will not take her home. Gulnaz wants to compromise to end the threat of all hostilities. “I want [President Karzai] to ensure that I am married to this man [who raped me], but I also want my brothers and this man to sign a document guaranteeing that nothing bad is going to happen to me in the future.”

Compiled from: Afghan Women, Jailed for Being Raped, Now Says She Wants To Marry Attacker, Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty (15 December 2011).