Judge Mohammad Suliman Rasuli sentenced Mullah Mohammad Amin – a religious leader from Afghanistan – to 20 years in prison Saturday for the rape of a 10-year-old girl in Kunduz province.
Mullah Amin admitted to having sex with the girl, whose name has not been released, but claimed that the child had seduced him. The judge rejected that reasoning, which would have made both parties subject to punishment for adultery under Sharia law. “She cannot commit adultery; she is a child,” he said. “This is rape.”
During the trial, the young girl confronted Mullah Amin, saying, “You shamed me, liar, you destroyed my life.”
According to reports, the rape occurred in May at a local mosque in Kunduz where the young girl had been receiving religious instruction from Amin. After a lesson, Amin asked the girl to remain at the mosque. He then tied her hands, taped her mouth and raped her. After the rape, the girl went to a shelter run by the advocacy group Women for Afghan Women (WAW). The group transported the girl to Kabul for medical treatment of a fistula, a tear between the vagina and the rectum caused by the rape, which had to be surgically repaired.
WAW social workers have been working closely with the girl’s family to ensure the child’s safety and continued education. Allegedly, the girl’s family had threatened to kill her for bringing dishonor to the family. Honor killings are not uncommon in Afghanistan, especially for rape survivors. The family has denied planning to harm the girl, and the girl’s father traveled with her to Kabul to attend the trial.
Women’s rights advocates celebrated the judge’s decision on Saturday. “It makes us believe and trust more in the justice system in the country,” WAW Program Director Naheed Samadi Bahram told CNN. “A little young girl frolm a far province gets justice for herself, this is amazing. This is a success for human rights in the country.”
Judge Mohammad Suliman Rasuli sentenced Amin under the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law (EVAW Law), which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai. The EVAW Law criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women – including rape, child and forced marriage, domestic violence, trafficking, and forced self-immolation – and specifies punishment for perpetrators. The Law has been in effect since 2009 but has still not been passed by Parliament.
Media Resources: CNN 10/27/14; New York Times 10/25/14; Feminist Newswire 5/20/13; Women for Afghan Women