Hundreds of Afghan Women Jailed for 'Moral Crimes'
Karzai government not making progress, rights groups says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2012 12:55 AM CDT
A woman jailed for leaving her husband changes her baby's diaper at the women's prison in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – More than a decade after the Taliban regime was ousted, Afghanistan is still imprisoning hundreds of women for "moral crimes" like running away from their husbands, according to Human Rights Watch. The group interviewed scores of women in Afghan prisons, and found that many were there because they had attempted to flee abusive relationships or forced marriages, AP reports. Adultery is a crime in Afghanistan, and the women were often assumed to have cheated on their husbands.

The group estimates that close to 400 women are currently behind bars in Afghanistan for "moral crimes." It says that the country has made little progress in protecting women's rights, despite repeated assurances from President Hamid Karzai. "What's needed first is the political will on behalf of the Afghan government to prosecute violence against women," the group's director says. Women's rights groups fear that Karzai will abandon promises to reform the justice system as he seeks a peace deal with the Taliban.