Number of Afghan women jailed for fleeing abuse soars

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Afghan women protesters

Women demonstrate in Kabul: religious conservatives have blocked a landmark law protecting women from violence. Photograph: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

The number of Afghan women jailed for fleeing forced and abusive marriages, and other “moral crimes”, has soared since 2011, according to Human Rights Watch.

About 600 women and girls are in prison for offences including running away from their husband or family, even though fleeing abuse is not a crime under Afghan law. Eighteen months ago, 400 women were being held for such “crimes”, the rights group said, quoting figures from the ministry of interior, which runs the country’s jails.

Read more on the Guardian.