Two weeks after being pardoned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Gulnaz, who was convicted of adultery after being raped, has been released from jail. It was initially reported that Gulnaz would have to marry her attacker as a condition of her release, but now it seems she won't be forced to go through with it. Though, she's still under tremendous pressure to marry the man to legitimize their daughter and prevent violence from their families.
CNN reports that Gulnaz and her daughter were released from jail on Tuesday night and are now staying in a women's shelter in Kabul. Gulnaz had served two and a half years of a 12 year prison sentence, and her rapist, who is her cousin's husband, is still in jail. Kimberley Motley, Gulnaz's American attorney, tells AFP,
"The million dollar question is whether she is going to marry her attacker. But he has five more years to serve and as far as I know there has never been an Afghan wedding in jail."
She added that Gulnaz was "pretty clear that she did not want to marry her attacker."
Though that seems fairly obvious, earlier Gulnaz had said she'd be willing to marry him to get out of prison. Also, there's fear that if she doesn't marry him when he gets out of prison, her family won't accept her and she could be the victim of a so-called honor killing. From jail, Gulnaz's attacker continued to insist that he didn't rape her, and said her life would probably end if she was freed. It sounds like a threat, but he was actually suggesting that her family would probably kill her for bringing them shame.
In an interview with CNN, Gulnaz says she's happy to be free, and doesn't want to marry her rapist if she doesn't "have to." She says all she wants is to go home and live with her brothers, but it's unclear whether they'll take in her and her daughter. Gulnaz says:
When my brothers used to visit me they would ask me not to bring the child to them because they did not like her. But I always told them she was my daughter and had nothing to do with the man. I love her like I did at the start. I want her to be well educated, and I don't want her to be illiterate. I want her to be a doctor, or anything that she could become.