Human Rights

Afghan woman maimed by husband seeks justice, treatment abroad



Zarina, 23, whose husband beat her and cut off both her ears before disappearing, receives treatment in Mazar-i-Sharif February 2. The man is still on the run, but authorities say they have launched an investigation to arrest him. [FARSHAD USYAN/AFP]

MAZAR-I-SHARIF -- An Afghan woman whose husband cut off her ears is seeking donations for treatment abroad, as activists demand justice for the latest example of gruesome domestic abuse in the country, AFP reported.

Zarina, 23, remained hospitalised in Mazar-i-Sharif Thursday (February 2), her mutilated ears bandaged and her face swollen.

She said her husband attacked her in the middle of the night Tuesday for no apparent reason.

"He woke up at three in the morning; he tied my legs, my hands with my veil ... I was begging him [to stop] but he didn't listen to me."

She said her husband punched her several times and then grabbed a sharp knife and sliced both her ears before disappearing from their home in a remote district of Balkh Province.

Zarina bled all night until a neighbour found her in the morning and rushed her to relatives, who took her to hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif.

"She arrived at the ICU at 9:30 am, both of her ears were cut. She was in shock ... imagine how much blood she lost," said hospital chief Dr. Shafir Shayek.

Zarina said she did not know why her husband attacked her.

"He was very rude, very harsh, when he became angry he started beating everyone -- his dad, his mum, he didn't care," she said.

Hospital officials said he was known for drug use, though they did not specify which drug.

Zarina and her husband were betrothed when she was 13 and married seven years later.

"I dont want to live with him anymore. I want divorce. I want him in jail," Zarina told AFP from her hospital bed.

Authorities pursue husband

On Thursday the man was still on the run, said Balkh governor's spokesman Sher Jan Durrani.

"Her husband has fled and is at large," he said. "We have started our investigation to arrest him."

Zarina said she is seeking private donations to fund a trip abroad for treatment. If she cannot raise the money, she said, "I implore Afghan officials" for help.

The attack was "only the latest" example of "disgusting violence" against Afghan women, Balkh women's rights activist Fahima Rahimi said.

"Afghan officials should bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice so that it be a lesson for others," she said, adding that many such criminals are freed after bribes to police or prosecutors.

Afghanistan remains the scene of regular abuse against women, most often perpetrated by spouses or in-laws who are rarely arrested.

In January 2016, a husband cut off the nose of his wife, Reza Gul, after a dispute in Faryab Province. Last summer a man set fire to his 14-year-old pregnant wife in Ghor Province. She died in a hospital in Kabul.

Many other cases of violence against women go unreported, Rahimi said.

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