Update: Afghan Rape Victim Has Been Freed, No Pre-Conditions

Updated December 15, 2011

Gulnaz, the Afghan woman jailed for adultery after a relative raped her was freed on Tuesday, her lawyer has told the BBC.

Kimberley Motley, Gulnaz’s lawyer, announced that her client was released without precondition, and was healthy and happy to be released.

From the BBC:

Ms Motley said that Gulnaz is now staying in an undisclosed location in Kabul with her child after being released overnight on Tuesday “for her own safety away from the blaze of publicity”.

Updated December 2, 2011

Three weeks ago I wrote here about Gulnaz, a 19-year-old Afghan woman who was raped by her cousin’s husband, then charged with adultery and finally sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Her baby girl, born following the rape, is serving her sentence with her.

The European Union commissioned Development Pictures to produce a documentary highlighting women’s rights issues in Afghanistan, but subsequently suppressed it for political reasons. The documentary tells Gulnaz’s story.

Gulnaz To Be Freed

At first the news broke that Gulnaz would be freed, but only if she agreed to marry her rapist.

But today the BBC reports that Gulnaz does not have to marry her attacker to be freed, according to her lawyer.

Lawyer Kimberly Motley says this was clarified personally to her by President Hamid Karzai’s office.

Mr Karzai pardoned the woman, named as Gulnaz, earlier this week, but some reports had said this was on condition that she married her attacker.

On Friday, Ms Kimberly said that 21-year-old Gulnaz would be released with no pre-conditions and would then be free to marry whomever she chooses.

“She doesn’t have plans for the future, she just wants to get out [of prison],” the lawyer said.

The Afghan President got involved in the case of Gulnaz when the decision not to broadcast the film led to a storm of publicity, including a Care2 petition with over 90,000 signatures.

Today’s announcement seems to bode well for Gulnaz, but her story is brutal:

“He Had Filthy Clothes On…He Shut Me Up By Putting His Hands On My Mouth”

From CNN:

Even two years later, Gulnaz remembers the smell and state of her rapist’s clothes when he came into the house when her mother left for a brief visit to the hospital.

“He had filthy clothes on as he does metal and construction work. When my mother went out, he came into my house and he closed doors and windows. I started screaming, but he shut me up by putting his hands on my mouth,” she said.

After the attack, she hid what happened as long as she could. But soon she began vomiting in the mornings and showing signs of pregnancy. It was her attacker’s child.

In Afghanistan, this brought her not sympathy, but prosecution. Aged just 19, she was found guilty by the courts of sex outside of marriage — adultery — and sentenced to twelve years in jail.

So we welcome today’s news, but the fact remains that women in her situation are often killed for the shame their ordeal has brought the community. She is at risk, some say, from her attacker’s family. And her case is common to many women in Afghanistan.

Gulnaz Faced A Stark Choice

Under Afghan law, Gulnaz has been judged an adulterer. Despite the ongoing dispute over her story, that has not changed. So it’s great that this 21-year-old woman has been released on the orders of President Karzai, but let’s hope that her case serves to throw a light on the situation of Afghan women, who are so often deprived of basic human rights.

Half of Afghanistan’s women prisoners are inmates for “zina” or moral crimes.

If you haven’t taken action, please sign our petition demanding justice for the women of Afghanistan.

Related Stories

Afghan Woman First Raped, Then Charged With Adultery – EU Bans Documentary

Abortion After A Rape Is Not Like Murdering Your Mother’s Killer

Herman Cain On Abortion: Carry Your Rapist’s Baby

Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB


Dawnie D.
Past Member 4 years ago

So an evil dirty stinking unwashed brute of a man enters this girls home locks the doors and windows grabs her by force and sticks his filthy hands all over her and then the law says off to jail you whore female or marry this evil male who took your dignity and honour. What sort of noddy land is this? How do the men who make these laws lay straight in bed at night? This is 2013 not 1200, 1500 or even 1800 so it's time for some humanity and equality towards the females of Afghanistan and other Islamic countries. To all these uneducated dictatorial men let me tell you, Allah, God, The Great Spirit of the universe is watching and doesn't like what he sees because what goes around comes around sooner or later. Love and Peace

Jeanne J.
Jeanne J4 years ago

Disgusting, the man that did this should be locked up and shamed. The law needs to change.

Amandine S.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Kay Redmon
Kay Redmon4 years ago

This certainly seems to be a miscarriage of justice. The poor women was raped, served time in prison & now is expected to marry the scum bag who caused all this misery, she also has a child as a result of this crime. Shouldn't the shoe be on the other foot ?? sending him to prison for a very long sentence for his indecent acts on this young woman. It goes to show how women are treated as less than second class citizens. They have no voice at all in their own country, so it's up to everyone who reads about this offensive case, to try to do something about it. Change in these countries does not come easy & thanks must go to the young girl who almost lost her life after being shot in the head, she is still brave enough to try to bring about change even though she has not recovered from her brutal injuries. For every one story we get to know about there are most likely dozens that don't come to light...

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago


Carolyn B.
Carolyn R5 years ago

This is the typically monstrous outcome of allowing Abrahamic religions to influence law.

Monotheism is a vile plague on the human race; the human mind holds the cure to this plague - free thought, humanism, rationalism, and normal innate human compassion. Resist religion, choose life, humanity, freedom, peace, and the hope of justice.

Ann Khorite5 years ago

@graham r, yes, marriage as a "cure" for rape not only exists in present-day Afghanistan and other nations in that region -- it also was the "cure" advocated by the Torah / Old Testament.

In that way, the "real" damaged party -- the father who can no longer demand a bride-price and whose "honor" has been besmirched -- is made whole. Patriarchal legal systems put no value on the woman's pain and suffering at all. Her innocence and misery mean nothing.

graham r.
graham read5 years ago

So what I'm getting from this is, in Afghanistan if you like a woman but she doesn't reciprocate, all you have to do is rape her and by law she's either yours for life or she goes to prison?
Sounds like they've created a perfect haven for rapists.
Pathetic and disgusting.

Pego Rice
Pego R5 years ago

I doubt that she want's to leave her home, family and what support she has. Where would we be if Malcome X or Dr King just up and left after a bad experience?

Jane Warre
Jane Warren5 years ago

Thanks for the education about the inhumanity of so-called humans toward other people.