Sabera, (age 16) who was flogged in public for having illicit relations with a 24 year-old muslim man. (Photo: RFE/RL)
About four months back, she was accused of having illicit relations with a 24 year-old Muslim Man and was flogged under the orders of clergymen and local influential people in a field court
Sabera, a 16 year-old girl who was flogged in Ghazni province for having illicit relations with a 24 year-old muslim man, has criticized the government, National Assembly and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
She said that none of these bodies have followed her case.
After days of waiting, I finally got to talk to Sabera, this young girl who was flogged by local elders of the Jaghori district, Ghazni.
This girl was transferred to Kabul and is currently living in a safe house.
I asked Sabera to tell me about the case that led to her being flogged in front of hundreds of people.
Contrary to the claims made by the clergymen and local elders of her village, she says that she was not friends with any boy and didn’t have relations with anyone with her consent, rather she was raped.
She said about the rape incident, “The boy was disturbing me a lot. He gave me his phone number every day for two, three days. On the fourth day I picked his phone number and called him. I asked him why he was disturbing me, and he said I am not an intruder. Finally he started called me and then continued disturbing me. One day he said, come to my shop I have something important to tell you. I told him that that I am not coming, what will I do in your shop? He said that someone has said something about me and if my parents find out they would kill me. I went to his shop. He grabbed my hand and took me to the store of his shop. He then put his hand on my mouth and then I don’t know what happened.”
This matter drew serious reactions from the government of Afghanistan, the National Assembly and human rights organizations around the world.
While talking to Sabera, I asked her what she was thinking when she was being flogged in front of hundreds of people?
She answered, “They took me to a desert. There were many people there. There were clergymen and school students, that made them about 2000 people. When they were flogging me, I felt the pain in the first ten but then it became normal. They flogged me 101 times.”
Although Sabera is living safely and far from the eyes of the local people, she fears for the safety of her family.
She says that the Taliban had threatened her father that if he did not give them Sabera, they would kill him.
Meanwhile, Sabera talks about the injustice in her case and the release of the boy who according to her, raped her.
This young girl criticized the government, National Assembly and human rights organizations, saying they have remained silent about her case, “I request the government to help me, to give me my rights. This is not fair, really. What happened to me was not what I wanted. But I don’t know what will happen to me. Human rights (organizations),the parliament are all sitting silently. They are not talking about my case.”
Regarding the probing of her case, I talked to officials in the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Adila Amarkhel, an official in the AIHRC, told Liberty Radio on Saturday, “Sabera’s family members know that they have to give us time to solve this through the assembly. When we handed Sabera to a safe house, because she felt she was in danger, we wanted her to be in a safe place first, so that we can resolve the issue through reconciliation and mediation. If we fail through this way, then you can follow the case through legal channels.”
It is not only Sabera who was flogged in public. There are tens of other women and girls like her who have been punished in similar courts in Afghanistan; like sometime back a woman was shot dead in Parwan province.
Violence against women is not a new matter, Afghan women are facing many kinds of violence.
Eleven years back, with a government installed with the support of the International Community, hopes for securing women’s rights had been revived, but recent statistics about Afghan women’s lives have turned these hopes into hopelessness.
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