Beating Wives, Honour Killings to be Legal in Afghanistan after Amendment in Criminal Code

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | February 7, 2014 11:57 AM EST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 25, 2014.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 25, 2014.

Afghan men will be allowed to beat their wives, sisters and children without having to be scared about the legal consequences, according to a new law in the country. Afghanistan has been gradually recovering from its history of forced marriages, honour killings and serious domestic abuse. However, all that progress was literally discouraged by the latest amendment.

RELATED: Nazi Law That Allowed Men Beat Wives to Death Still Exists in Germany

The Guardian reported that there was a significant change made to the criminal prosecution code of Afghanistan, even though it was apparently a small one. The new amendment will not allow the relatives of the accused to testify against him. Most cases of violence against women in Afghanistan are reported to take place within the family. Thus, the new amendment will make it nearly impossible for women to prove any violence against them.

Women for Afghan Women Director Manizha Naderi called the new law a "travesty." Women for Afghan Women is a campaign and charity group. She said that it would make it impossible to prosecute anyone for violence against women. She also said that the law would deny justice to the "most vulnerable.".

There are numerous cases of honour killings in the country when senior male members disapprove of the behaviour of a woman in the family. The woman is executed to save the "honour" of the family. Then there are cases of forced marriages as well as trading women in the family to outsiders to settle debts or end feuds, The Guardian reported.

The amendment in the criminal code called Prohibition of Questioning an Individual as a Witness will also not allow doctors, defence lawyers and children to testify against the accused. It is believed that senators actually wanted to form a milder version of the criminal code so that relatives are not forced by law to testify. Eventually, both houses ended up passing a draft that would ban almost every kind of testimony.

President Hamid Karzai is yet to sign the law, which will make it official.

Did you know?

In Arkansas, a man can legally beat his wife no more than once a month.

In Stafford County, Virginia; a man can legally beat his wife on the courthouse steps before 8:00 pm.

In South Carolina and Huntington, West Virginia; a man can legally beat his wife on the courthouse steps on Sundays.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail / )
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul January 25, 2014.
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