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Afghanistan Legalizes Rape but Only Sometimes

The UN is in an uproar after Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, hastily signed a law that legalizes rape. But, you know, only between husband and wife.

The bill, according to UN papers, says there's no need for sexual consent between married couples; approves child marriage implicitly; and, in a throwback to Taliban days, restricts a woman's right to leave her home. If you think that's bad, look at the specifics. UN papers, which London's Independent has seen, said:

Article 132 requires women to obey their husband's sexual demands and stipulates that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least "once every four nights" when travelling, unless they are ill. The law also gives men preferential inheritance rights, easier access to divorce, and priority in court.

I bet you anything "ill" means "has period."

Why erode women's rights now? Election time! Critics say President Karzai rushed the bill through parliament to butter up fundamentalists before September elections. One senator said the bill was never even read in parliament's Upper House much less debated. Hmm. Good thing women (and girls over 12?!) have the right to vote!


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