News - Afghanistan
Kabul Primary Court on Wednesday sentenced two Afghan Local Police (ALP) officers each to 16 years in prison for raping and physically abusing a woman in northeastern Kunduz province seven months ago.
The woman Lal Bibi sobbed giving her testimony of how she was detained against her will and raped and abused by the two policemen Khudaidad and Abdurrazaq over a period of one week.
The court also sentenced two more local policemen to a year in prison for helping the pair carry out the crime.
"For the case of rape of Lal Bibi by Khudaidad, according to Article 17 of prohibition of violence against women, and considering Article 39 of the country's penal code, we sentence each of you to 16 years of enforced detention, beginning from the first day of your arrest," said Abdulbaset Bakhtiyari, Head of Primary Court of Kabul District 4.
Lal Bibi's family who were present at the hearing wants the appeals court to keep the decision at the final hearing.
However the policemen found guilty of the crime consider the decision unfair saying that Lal Bibi was wedded to Khudaidad
The attorney for the case, Sayed Mujahid Wadan, said that the investigations show that Khudaidad raped Lal Bibi in apparent retribution for her cousin raping Khudaidad's daughter Rahila.
Quoting Lal Bibi, Wadan said: "They cuffed my hands and every one of them, including the military commander himself Ghulam Sakhi, Khudaidad, Abdurrazaq, and Akhtar Mohammed put me in the Ranger car of the military commander. They grabbed a sheep from my father's house, and even beat my father who tried to stop me going. They brought me to Khudaidad's house, and without holding any Nekah (Islamic marriage), and in retribution for Khudaidad's daughter, Khudaidad himself raped me one week constantly."
The accused policemen claimed that after Khudaidad's daughter Rahila was raped, Lal Bibi and Khudaidad were married to settle the incident. Mullah Mohammed Aref, who could not be found to testify, married them.
The attorney said the Primary Court's decision may be reviewed if this mullah gives evidence at the next hearing.
A number of women's rights activists and representatives welcomed the public hearing and verdict to punish those who carry out violence against women.
"I am sure there will be less violence if such hearings are held and decisions are made public," said women's rights activist Sharifa Zarmati.