Afghan Rape Victim’s Sentence Reduced

GulnazA young Afghan woman named Gulnaz has spent the last year and a half in a Kabul jail. This was to have been the first eighth of a 12-year prison sentence. Her crime: Adultery. But Gulnaz has long insisted that she's not an adulterer — that she was raped, and failed to report her rape out of fear of retribution.

Her fear is understandable. Rape is still considered more-or-less synonymous with infidelity throughout Afghanistan, and many women who do report rape are imprisoned anyway. (Sometimes, women suspected of "zini," or moral crimes, such as extra-marital sex, are stoned to death.) From

Gulnaz says she at first tried to hide the attack against her because she could be killed for bringing shame on her community. Only her pregnancy exposed the attack and began criminal investigations that led to her conviction for adultery.

Later, a higher Afghan court decided that Gulnaz probably was raped after all, and reduced her sentence to three years. Her new crime: Failing to report her rape quickly enough. reports the excellent news that Gulnaz may soon be free from prison anyway. Her name is on a list of women in line to receive pardons. BBC explains why: Gulnaz has agreed to marry her rapist. "I need my daughter to have a father," she said.