Afghanistan Legalizes Starving Wives Who Refuse Sex

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2009 3:03 AM CDT
A woman carrying bread on her head and children on their way to school in Kabul pass photos of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming presidential vote.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Afghan lawmakers have passed a new law requiring women to submit to their husbands' sexual demands or be starved, reports the BBC. The new law is an amended version of a bill that forced women to have sex with their husbands at least every four days, and completely removed a wife's right to refuse sex, essentially legalizing spousal rape. Global public outcry against the first bill forced President Hamid Karzai to withdraw it.

Critics, including Afghan women's groups and Western leaders, say the new version is little better than Taliban rule and violates the country's constitution. They accuse Karzai of bowing to fundamentalists ahead of Thursday's presidential elections. The law also forces women to obtain their husband's permission to work, and gives child custody rights to fathers and grandfathers.