Would you believe that seventy percent of women jailed in Afghanistan today are accused of "home escape?" Unfortunately you probably would. This is what the war has been all about? Give me a break?
The international women's organization Madre puts it this way:
Most women have no money of their own and are forbidden from leaving home without a male relative. Escaping abuse is therefore very difficult: running away is itself a crime punishable by death.
Human Rights Watch last march reported about 70 percent of the approximately 700 female prisoners have been imprisoned for running away, nearly always for fleeing forced marriage or domestic violence (To see the report click here). At a press conference following the release of that report local reporters displayed a shocking lack of understanding or a shocking amount of patriarchal attitude (depending on your point of view, I suppose):
One local reporter asked, “If this is not considered a crime and it becomes rampant in the society and everyone does it, don’t you think that in a society like Afghanistan it will lead to a kind of anarchism here and everything will get out of control? What will be the consequences?”
Several questions later, another local reporter closed his question saying, “I think that to prosecute running away with strangers, it helps families to be more organized and it fortifies the family relationships in Afghanistan, so I think it is better for Afghanistan to prosecute this crime.”
The human rights group was forced to again chide the government recently as the NATO backed Afghan government denied that escaping one's home was a crime. Human Rights Watch research in six prisons and juvenile detention centers has found that some 50 percent of women in prison and some 95 percent of girls in juvenile detention are accused of so-called "moral crimes." According to Outlook Afghanistan:
HRW Asia Director Brad Adams said pardoning victims of unlawful imprisonment for running away does nothing to end this abuse. He added that President Karzai should issue a decree prohibiting all arrests and prosecutions for 'running away' and order the release of all women and girls currently imprisoned on this charge.
A previous HRW report said women and girls face a justice system stacked against them at every stage. Police arrest them solely on a complaint of a husband or relative. Prosecutors ignore evidence that supports women's assertions of innocence. Judges often convict solely on the basis of "confessions" given in the absence of lawyers and "signed" without having been read to women who cannot read or write. After conviction, women routinely face long prison sentences, in some cases more than 10 years.
Ironically, when it comes to Afghanistan’s interpretation of Islamic law regarding women who "run away free, " it is the only Muslim nation to interpret such behavior as prohibited under Islamic law.
Earlier this month, President Karzai came out in support of a statement by a government-sponsored council of religious scholars that said women were not equal to men and should not mix with men in public. Explaining his support of the statement, Karzai said the council was not putting limitations on women, but rather was enforcing the Islamic law that binds all Afghans and Muslims.
And that's the way it is, Tuesday, September 25, 2012 (or is it 1312).
The following is from RAWA.
70% jailed Afghan women are accused of home-escape
“Forced marriages, difference in age of couples, violence, use divorce comments and several other issues are the main motives which forces Afghan girls and married women to flee from their homes.”
Read more: http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2012/09/17/70-jailed-afghan-women-are-accused-of-home-escape.html#ixzz27VjeYE8l