02.05.143:47 PM ET

Law Change Could Silence Afghan Women

Victims of domestic violence could be banned from testifying in court.

A small but crucial change in Afghanistan law could silence victims of domestic violence. The amendment, which has passed parliament but awaits a signature from President Hamid Karzai, bans relatives of the accused from testifying against them in court. Almost all cases of domestic violence in Afghanistan happen within families. If this new amendment becomes law, none of these victims could take their crimes to court. "Honor killings" and grave acts of violence against woman—such as the case of Sitara, whose nose and lips were cut off by her husband—also would be impossible to prosecute. Opponents of violence against women are now pressuring Karzai to kill the amendment. "It is a travesty this is happening," Manizha Naderi, director of the charity and campaign group Women for Afghan Women told The Guardian. "The most vulnerable people won't get justice now."