Tortured Afghan girl to go to India

2012-01-02 14:15

Kabul - A 15-year-old Afghan girl severely tortured for months by her in-laws in an attempt to force her into prostitution will be sent to India for medical treatment, an Afghan official said on Tuesday.

Sahar Gul's mother-in-law and sister-in-law were arrested and her husband was being sought, said Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Sediqi.

The case has shocked Afghanistan, though rights activists say serious abuses against women and girls in the conservative society are common. President Hamid Karzai has said that whoever used violence against Gul will be punished.

According to officials in northeastern Baghlan province, the in-laws kept Gul in a basement for six months, ripped her fingernails out, tortured her with hot irons and broke her fingers. Police freed her last week.

The public health and women's affairs ministers visited Gul, who is now in a Kabul hospital.

She was freed from a basement at her husband's home last week after her uncle called the local police.

"It is a violent act that is unacceptable in the 21st century," Sediqi told reporters. "We are thankful of Sahar Gul's uncle."

He added that "if the police had not arrived in time she may have died".

Gul was married about seven months ago. Jawad Basharat, spokesperson for the provincial police chief in Baghlan, said an arrest warrant had been issued for her husband, who is serving in the Afghan army.

Different kinds of injuries

"After police found out about the small girl Sahar Gul they took action and found her in the basement of the house in very bad condition," Basharat said. "Her nails were pulled out, she has injuries in all parts of her body, there are signs of burning on her body, she was suffering from different kinds of injuries."

He said that her mother-in-law and other members of the family were reportedly involved in what he described as "criminal activities", which he said included selling alcohol and prostitution.

According to preliminary reports, Basharat said, "they tried to force her into prostitution and she did not agree. This was one of the reasons that they detained her in the basement for six months".

Rahima Zarifi, the provincial director of women's affairs in Baghlan, said a commission had been set up under Karzai's orders to investigate the case.

"According to the neighbours in the area, Sahar Gul's in-law's were not good people. Besides selling alcohol, they were involved in prostitution and that is why they put pressure on Sahar Gul to join with them. She was not happy with it and that is why they put her in the basement, detained her for six months and tortured her," Zarifi said. "They pulled out her nails. You can see the signs of torture and abuse all over her body, several types of torture and abuse. They even burned her with hot irons."

Health Minister Suraya Dalil said that despite progress in women's rights, work remained to be done.

"This is the very most extreme case that we have seen. That a child, that a girl child has been abused, has been physically abused, psychologically abused. It is an issue that shows that we are still need to work a lot with regard to education, with regard to awareness, with regard to social and economic development," Dalil said.

Despite much progress since the fall of the Taliban 10 years ago, women's rights in Afghanistan remain a problem area in a country with a strict patriarchal culture

Under Taliban rule, girls' schools were banned and women could only leave the house accompanied by a male family member.


A UN report issued in November found that a 2009 law meant to protect Afghan women from a host of abusive practices, including rape, forced marriage and the trading of women to settle disputes was being undermined by spotty enforcement.

The Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was passed in August 2009 and had raised hopes among women's rights activists that Afghan women would get to fight back against abuses that had been ignored under Taliban rule. The law criminalized many abuses for the first time, including domestic violence, child marriage, driving a woman to resort to suicide and the selling and buying of women.

Yet the report found only a small percentage of reported crimes against women are pursued by the Afghan government.

Between March 2010 and March 2011, prosecutors opened 594 investigations involving crimes under the law. That's only 26% of the 2 299 incidents registered by the Afghan human rights commission, the U.N. report said. Prosecutors filed indictments in only 155 cases, or 7% of the total number of crimes reported.

Sometimes victims were pressured to withdraw their complaints or to settle for mediation by traditional councils, the report said. Sometimes prosecutors didn't proceed with mandatory investigations for violent acts like rape or prostitution. Other times, police simply ignored complaints, the report said.

  • Anthony - 2012-01-02 14:46


  • JudithNkwe - 2012-01-02 15:04

    Can any one who is a believer in Islam condone this? And, if so, why?

      ebadam - 2012-01-02 16:17

      Islam does not condone this sh1t. My blood boils looking at this article. The article states that "...women's rights in Afghanistan remain a problem area in a country with a strict patriarchal culture." Islam does not subscribe to patriarchy and culture. Religion and culture are not the same thing. The perpetrators should be punished severely. A proper, just Islamic court would punish them.

      Fawzia - 2012-01-02 17:44


      martin.vandermerwe - 2012-01-03 10:14

      ISLAM might not condone this type of torture but they however condone the fact that woman are beneath men in any respect, woman have no rights!!!!!!! Savages.

      jowza1 - 2012-01-03 14:11

      judith.i see you back with your anti-islamic sentiments.which religion preachers this kind of sick acts

  • Garth - 2012-01-02 16:28

    "Humans," sniffed Elephant. "Scum of the earth." Apologies to all the islam-bashers out there, but this could happen anywhere in the world. Not necessarily with a brother selling his sister into slavery, but with some savage(s) holding another human prisoner for the purposes of sex, money, power, etc. - Austria, Belgium, India, China, USA, RSA. We inhabitant a world made sick with the evil inherent in too many humans. Don't blame religion here - it is humans, pure and simple and this is why we shall one day be erased by this planet. Mother Nature shall have her revenge.

      yummyhamster - 2012-01-02 17:32

      This isnt about ISLAM.. it is about sick ba@%!rds in this world. My ex is muslim and she is an awesome person. and i am glad you posted what you have Garth. Most Muslims will be ticked off at this as they are morally better than most of the people i have had the mis fortune of meeting. Morality in this world has gone to the drains and people look for other things to blame it on other than human kind is SICK..

      emile.eley - 2012-01-02 17:37

      How come she's your ex then? Brownie points up for grabs or what?

      emile.eley - 2012-01-02 19:25

      Not at all. have my fair share. But thanks for asking. And your use of the term "non-Muslim" speaks volumes. Short jump to infidel ain't it?

      emile.eley - 2012-01-02 19:32

      Oh lest I forget, dear master. please enlighten us whether you would have supported their union if they chose to adhere to different beliefs. And, of course, you're assuming Hamster is male. Come now, don't be coy.

      Riaad - 2012-01-02 22:23

      @Emile I won't stoop to your level of debating trivial points and scoring points with sarcastic remarks. My offer for SINCERE debate still stands:

  • yummyhamster - 2012-01-02 17:29

    I Hope they find her husband and cut his NUTS off... and her inlaws should be exicuted.. how sick are these people..

  • Sharkshoot - 2012-01-02 17:31

    This is very common in Afghanistan. I'm betting UN human rights groups got wind of this particular case and the Afghan government felt obliged to act on it to make an example of the heathens involved. Young boys and women and often abused in the country. 'Bacha Bazi' or 'playing with boys' has been practiced for hundreds of years in Central's said that young boys with no facial hair are forced into dancing for groups of men who then sexually abuse them...and this has spread to Afghanistan where it has stayed. Many cases have been discovered in Pakistan too.

      jowza1 - 2012-01-03 14:08

      The afgans and pakis are scums.they use religion to justify their own twisted minds

  • rickvcooper - 2012-01-02 17:41

    Waht a filthy culture to allow such atrocities. Abuse against people or animals should carry a death sentence.

      Riaad - 2012-01-02 18:15

      The Afghani-Pak people can be as much blamed for "allowing" such evil practices as we South Africans can be blamed for "allowing" our appallingly-high rape stats. It's so easy to see the splint in the other's eye while there is a huge branch in our own. Abuse of children must be strongly condemned wherever it occurs. But don't make the serious mistake of assuming that this abuse is ok in the teachings of Islam.

  • malcolm - 2012-01-02 18:34

    Its cultural. Here in South Africa, it is the culture of certain sectors to murder, disembowel, and sell the body parts of young girls/ boys/ babies for muti. Often the parts are eaten. The culture of this poor girls parents is disgusting. But here in South Africa, we have worse cultures. Having sex with babies to cure aids is also not uncommon around Southern Africa. This girl is fortunate not to be one of our esteemed local victims of culture.

  • herman.booysen - 2012-01-02 18:56

    This has nothing to do with Islam or, indeed any religion: it's the sick outcome of an entire nation whose traumatic recent history after the USSR invasion and the subsequent totalitarianism of the oppressive Taliban regime caused the men-folk to revert to their primitive role as oppressors of the family. After all, the male ego needs some form of control, and if the males of the community at large are prevented from playing a directive role in community affairs, they will -- without fail -- seek to establish such within the family unit. Study the history of all ancient cultures across the globe, even before Islam ever existed. The same applies to oppressed peoples anywhere in the world today! It is the duty of all democratically-minded mations to assist their neighbours to maintain basic participative rights for all its citizens, which is the only way to keep the primitive urges in check.

      herman.booysen - 2012-01-02 18:58


  • Beetroot - 2012-01-02 19:08

    totally agree Garth. I have great friends who are Muslims and they are regular down to earth people. They go to mosque on Fridays as Christians go to church on Sundays. I get angry when people stereotype an entire group. The Taliban are cavemen run by cavemen clerics who inherit the stupidity of their fathers. Its fear of the weak men who cant stand to think a women can actually be an equal in intellect, academics, driving a car. (Map reading is a different issue, but we wont go there because its a global agreement. Yes women cant read a map.) Anyway as I was saying, certain things become what they are because of choice and ruling. Just like the ANC, there is only one bus to catch to town. So the population jump aboard. SA needs a new change in black politics. Hey are we going to that big ANC party or what? I bought an okapi knife so that I can also be one of the criminals. I could not afford a Breitling watch but I Hate to stand out being an honest taxpayer.

  • Khuma Cecelia Zondi - 2012-01-02 19:18

    How tragic,I pray for her speedy recovery

  • Marlene - 2012-01-03 08:43

    Good for her uncle for raising the alarm. I think she may have died soon, if they hadn't found her.

  • ruda.sealie - 2012-01-03 13:58

    "It is a violent act that is unacceptable in the 21st century," Sediqi told reporters.... It is a ridiculous act to marry off a 15 year old girl.

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