The endless pain suffered by Sahar Gul turned into scream
Fourteen year-old Sahar Gul who had been married off to a man by her step brother - Mohammad Khan, was rescued after six months of being detained in a basement toilet.
Having received media coverage, she stated being wronged and beaten by her mother-in-law, her sister-in-law, her husband, her father-in-law and her brother-in-law for no reason.
Upon receiving the news (at about 8 am - Jaddi 5th,) the AIHRC regional office in Kunduz dispatched a team to that province in order to investigate and monitor the incident. The team after reaching the province paid a visit to the provincial hospital and talked to Sahar Gul, who was in a very critical health condition. Her uncle’s wife, who was also there to take care of her and ensure her security, stated: “Her family was abusing her and wanted to force her into prostitution. When she refused their demand she was tortured by them.” Sahar Gul’s both hands were broken during torture and beating, her hair was ripped off and her finger nails were removed, her left leg had turned bruised in the thigh under repeated torture, her left eyelash and eyelid had been burnt with hot metal rod, the score of which was still visible. In short, marks of torture and beating were visible all over her body.
Sahar Gul, whose blossoms of hope looked faded at 14, was moaning, crying and shedding tears out of severe pain. She kept saying, “What was my fault to suffer this way? Am I not a human being? Can anyone here my voice? Is it a sin not to allow strangers abuse you? Are there someone who could possibly punish these faithless criminals?” She also said, “God knows how many other women and girls are suffering like me!”
After being cared by local doctors it was decided that Sahar Gul, based on their decision and agreement, and emphasis made by a number of women’s rights organizations, be transferred to a hospital in the capital so that she would get better care and treatment.
The AIHRC’s Kunduz regional office team contacted the head of criminal investigation department in Baghlan Provincial Police HQ and enquired further information regarding the case. They stated, “Upon receiving the news, the security police in the second zone was assigned to take an urgent and timely action. They transferred Sahar Gul to hospital very quickly. The head of security police in the second zone who was assigned to arrest Ghulam Sakhi and his associates, said, “Based on the complaint made by Sahar Gul’s brother and uncle on 4/10/1390, we, with the cooperation of some local elders, entered into Aman’s house. After searching the house, we found Sahar Gul being locked up in a basement toilet. She was in a very critical health condition. We first took her to the police station and later, after some preliminary investigation, she was transferred to hospital. Her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her father-in-law were arrested and handed over to the police criminal investigation department.
Samonmal Fazul Rahman the head of security zone-2 of Police said: “based on the information gathered from the area it was found out that this family has been notorious family and has been abusing Sahar Gul. Based on the information obtained from the Security office of the Police Sahar Gul had been subject to beating in the past too. Based on the neighbors’ telephone calls, the criminal investigation department of police had taken action and arrested Sahar Gul’s father-in-law and mother-in-law along with her, but due to mediation of Wakil Guzar (villager’s representative) they were released.
In this regard, the police criminal investigation department said, “We are unaware of this. We refer cases pertaining to violence to the directorate of women’s affairs. They might have interfered.”
When we spoke to the directorate of women’s affairs, they also expressed lack of knowledge in this regard, but explained, “On 21/09/1390, Sahar Gul’s father-in-law and mother-in-law while helping Sahar Gul to walk came to the directorate of women’s affairs. The said: “she is our bride; there had been wounds all over her body since she became our bride. All our money was spent for the wedding and now we can’t afford her medication. Could you please introduce her to a clinic or a hospital rendering free services?” By an official letter (No: 26 dated 21/09/1390), we introduced Sahar Gul to a hospital. We do not know what has happened since then; they did not refer to us again.”
The head of Baghlan Provincial Police stated regarding their efforts for the prosecution of the perpetrators as follows: “Two individuals have been arrested in this connection and the case is being investigated by the police.” I asked about the victim’s husband who is a soldier at the national army. He said, “There is no verified information available as in which regiment he is performing duty. However, we are trying to arrest him the moment we get information about his whereabouts.”
The Commission is seriously following up the case and keeps monitoring of Shar Gul’s health situation in Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, and has a continuous telephone contact with the relevant authorities about the case as well as about the arrest of the perpetrators.
It is worth mentioning that there is also a unit by the name of ‘Domestic Violence department’ in the structure of Baghlan Provincial Police HQ. However due to lack of necessary coordination between the organs and lack of professional staff, cases of this type is not addressed in this unit. Criminal investigation department in understanding with the women’s affair directorate are dealing with such cases or referring them to relevant legal organs, which indicates lack of coordination and lack of observation of administrative principles at the Police HQ.
It is worth mentioning that concerns over the intensification of Bad and other forms of violence contrary to Islam and national and international laws all over the country especially in provinces like Kunduz, Baghlan and Takhar, is increasing. There is violence and wrongs experienced by our countrymen whether men, women or children. Their human dignity is ignored and their right to life and other rights are violated.
AIHRC Kunduz Regional Office Press Unit