Rough justice for women in post-Taliban Afghanistan

Jill McGivering in a Nov. 12 report for the BBC, “Rough justice for Afghan women inmates,” visits Afghanistan’s dismal Lashkar Gah prison in Helmand, revealing that women and teenage girls continue to be incarcerated for lengthy terms in harsh conditions for such crimes as pre-marital sex or defending themselves against abusive spouses in the post-Taliban era. Of the prison’s seven female prisoners she interviewed, this case is perhaps the most poignant:

Most of the young women were either teenagers or in their early twenties.

The youngest, Sekeena, was one of the most shy, clamping her scarf across her babyish face and watching me with nervous brown eyes.

The other women had to press her before she finally agreed to tell me her story.

When she was 13, she said, she was engaged to a neighbour’s son. Just four days before the wedding celebration, some other boys abducted her. When they took her back to her family, she was shamed and arrested for illegal sex. She was sentenced to seven years in jail. Her family accused her of going off willingly with the boy and has now disowned her.

“Now I have no family, no parents, no brother, no sister,” she said. “I am all alone. What kind of life am I living here? It’s a life but not a human life.”

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