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Women’s ward sorority of woe
May 05, 2007 04:30 AM
KANDAHAR–Sharbana has delicate features only now blossoming into adolescence, her face still lingering in girlhood as her body nudges toward a gentle ripening.
She is 13 years old.
Was all of 11 when she first crossed the threshold of Sarposa Prison, the central detention centre in Kandahar province.
There are 19 inmates in the female wing of Sarposa and 22 children – from a newborn to preteens – their only “crime” an umbilical attachment to incarcerated mothers, nurturing-by-felon.
This, for many of these youngsters, is the only life they remember, behind thick, high walls topped with razor wire.
Sharbana is youngest among the convicted and this is what she remembers:
A father, now deceased, who negotiated her into marriage two years ago.
A repugnant groom of decrepit age, an old goat as she calls him.
Her obstinate refusal to wed that man. Abduction by his family. Rape and beatings.
And conviction in a local sharia court for failing to honour the marriage agreement arranged by her father.
“We weren’t married yet and he raped me,” Sharbana says softly, after grabbing on to the hem of a visitor’s cloak, beckoning, scurrying into a corner of the prison yard because she’s ashamed to speak in front of the other women.
“He told the judge, `She’s my wife and she ran away from home.’ But I wasn’t his wife and nobody would speak for me, not even my father.”
Her “husband” was charged with no crime. Sharbana received a three-year sentence for abandoning him.
Afghan girls sold for money: here.
Afghan parliament expels female member: here.