Stop the Anti-Women Gag Rule
The story so far
Afghan reactionary lawmakers are trying to pass a law to ensure that family members can never testify as witnesses. This is a green light for more women and girls to be abused at home, but some courageous politicians are fighting back and say our outcry could make the difference!
The proposed language of the bill would prohibit the relatives of a criminal defendant from being questioned as a witness against the accused. Should this provision become law, victims and other family members who have been witnesses to abuse will be silenced in domestic violence cases, making successful prosecutions unlikely.
“Afghanistan’s lower house is proposing to protect the batterers of women and girls from criminal punishment. Legislative approval of this criminal law revision would effectively stop prosecutions of people who beat, forcibly marry, and even sell their female relatives.” – Brad Adams, Asia director
Sold into marriage at 12, Sahar Gul lived in a house of horrors. Her in-laws chained her in the basement, beat her with red hot iron pipes, starved her and pulled out all her fingernails when she refused to prostitute herself for them.
As a child, Sahar Gul was sold by her brother for $US 5,000 into a home of horrific abuse. When she was finally rescued, torture left her so weak that she came out of her basement prison in a wheelbarrow. Last year her tormentors received 10-year sentences, but a lower court judge just set them free.
Her attackers’ sentence was reduced to a meager one year, and now they’re free again! Worse still, the Lower House of Parliament has just passed the bill that would ban aggressors’ family members from testifying in court. This would prevent countless children and women from ever getting justice.
How can we help?
The Upper House has beaten back anti-women legislation before and high-level officials say the Avaaz community could tip the balance and help stop the bill before it goes to a vote. But to do that, we need to act fast. Click below to sign this urgent petition now — when it reaches 1 million signers Avaaz will launch a massive local media campaign targeting key senators until the bill is dumped:
Sign the petition now and help stop this outrageous bill from coming into effect.
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