Conflict & Justice

Afghan child bride kept locked in bathroom for 5 months for defying in-laws


Afghan bride Zahara, 24, gets ready for a wedding ceremony surrounded by female family members at a local beauty parlor in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Oct. 14, 2010.


Paula Bronstein

Police in Afghanistan say they have rescued a teenage wife locked up in a bathroom for more than five months for defying her in-laws, who tried to force her into prostitution.

Afghan police say Pari Gul, 15, was found Monday locked in a windowless room in the basement of her husband's house in northeastern Baghlan province after her parents reported her disappearance to the police, Agence France-Presse reported.

The news service quotes district police chief Fazel Rahman as saying: "She was beaten, her fingernails were removed and her arm was broken."

Three women, including the teenager's mother-in-law, had been arrested, but her husband had fled the area, Rahman added.

Officials say Gul, from the northern province of Badakhshan, was married when she was 14 years old, despite Afghan laws setting the marriage age for girls at 16.

As is the case with most marriages in the country, according to VOA, Gul's marriage was not officially registered at a court. 

The officials said Gul was locked away about two months after the wedding, but Gul said the torture began right after she was married. During this time, her parents were unable to contact her, she said

The director of the women's affairs department in Baghlan province, Rahima Zarifi, told VOA Gul was severely tortured both physically and mentally. 

According to the AFP, the case "highlights how women continue to suffer in Afghanistan despite the billions of dollars of international aid that has poured into the country during the decade-long war."

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission logged 1026 cases of violence against women in the second quarter of 2011 compared with 2700 cases for the whole of 2010.