Afghan woman, jailed for being raped, wins pardon

Unclear whether woman will have to marry relative who attacked her; lawyer hopes she will leave prison "in the next few days."

Arab Muslim veiled hijab nikab niqab mask 311 (R) (photo credit: Ali Jarekji / Reuters)
Arab Muslim veiled hijab nikab niqab mask 311 (R)
(photo credit: Ali Jarekji / Reuters)
KABUL - Afghanistan has pardoned a woman who was raped by a family member but then jailed for adultery, a statement from the presidential palace has said, in a case that highlights deep concerns about women's rights in the country.
It remained unclear whether the 21-year-old-woman, known as Gulnaz, would still have to marry the man who attacked her, her cousin's husband, after an earlier release offer which stipulated they must marry.
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai's palace issued the statement pardoning Gulnaz late on Thursday, a rare pardon in such a case in staunchly conservative Muslim Afghanistan.
Her case attracted international attention after she took part in a documentary film commissioned by the European Union but later withheld.
Gulnaz had eventually agreed to the condition she marry her attacker under the earlier release offer but her lawyer said the release granted this week did not depend on her going through with the marriage.
It was not clear whether she still intended to marry the man, her lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said. Her attacker is serving a 7-year prison term for the crime.
Motley said she hoped her client would be released shortly, and that there was a place for her in a women's shelter.
Gulnaz was initially sentenced to two years in jail for "adultery by force", which was later increased to 12 years on appeal. She was given the choice of marriage or serving a jail sentence. Her sentence was then cut to three years after a third appeal, and the requirement for her to marry was dropped.
Gulnaz became pregnant as a result of the attack and gave birth to a daughter in the Badam Bagh women's prison in Kabul almost a year ago.