Afghan cleric held over rape of girl (10)

Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 01:00

KABUL – An Afghan cleric has been arrested after allegedly raping a young schoolgirl in the country’s north on the second day of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, Afghan security officials said yesterday.

The mullah, named by the interior ministry in a statement as Mawlavi Sayed Ahmad, was arrested on Saturday after local residents caught him with the 10-year-old girl in Aybak city, in northern Samangan province.

Police said the girl was now receiving treatment at a hospital, while Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission described the incident as “terrible”, particularly given the respect accorded to clerics in the deeply religious country.

“The mullah used to go to the schoolgirl’s house, teaching her Islamic studies. The mullah raped her after the evening prayers on Saturday night,” a police official said on condition of anonymity.

The commission also said it had recorded a sharp increase in cases of violence against women during the past four months of the year.

There have been almost 1,000 cases of violence against women so far this year, compared with about 1,300 for all of last year. Nearly 60 women have been murdered in the past four months.

“When a mullah rapes a small girl, it is not only a concern for the commission but for all parents living in this country,” human rights commissioner Suraya Subhrang said.

A father killed two of his daughters in Nad Ali district of Helmand province on Sunday after they left home with a man working as a translator for foreign forces, the district police chief said.

A prison chief was also jailed for 16 years last week for raping a teenage girl in eastern Logar province three years ago. – (Reuters)