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A million sign plea against anti-women law.

KABUL (Pajhwok): More than a million people around the globe have signed a petition, urging President Hamid Karzai to reject a proposed law that protects perpetrators of domestic violence, child abuse, forced marriage and marital rape.

Approved by both houses of parliament, the measure is expected to be sent to the president for final signatureinto law within weeks. If signed, the law will bar judicial authorities from questioning the relatives of a criminal defendant, effectively silencing victims of domestic violence.

A global civic network, Avz, said on Friday that more than 179,000 people had sent President Karzai personal messages, asking him not to sign the new draft into law.

Ian Bassin, the Avz campaign director said: "If President Karzai puts his name to this law, he'll be relegating countless women and girls to a life of rape and abuse."

If the president was serious about building a more secure future for Afghanistan and bequeathing a legacy worth following, he would not sign the bill until it was rectified, the director added.

Among the hundreds of thousands of messages to President Karzai collected by Avz, one woman writes: "As a six year old child I was tortured, burned third degree and sexually assaulted by the son of my host family where I had been sent to recover from starvation.

"I would have died an agonising mental death if one courageous person had not stood up for me and reported the crime to the authorities, and thus brought the perpetrator to justice.

"To bar the testimony of the only possible witnesses gives carte blanche to torturers and violators I call on you to work with the Upper House to reject the proposed Amendment to Article 26," she wrote.


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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Date:Feb 7, 2014
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