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Human Rights Watch seeks release of ‘runaway’ Afghan women

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A US-based human rights group on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of Afghan women imprisoned for running away from home, welcoming promises from government officials to stop the detentions.

Up to 70 percent of the estimated 700 women and girls detained in Afghan prisons are being held for running away, nearly always for fleeing forced marriage or domestic violence, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

At a meeting last Sunday, Justice Minister Habibullah Ghalib, Women’s Affairs Minister Hassan Banoo Ghazanfar and the deputy interior minister, Baz Mohammad Yarmand, condemned wrongful imprisonment of women and girls for leaving their homes.

Afghanistan is an extremely conservative country, where unmarried girls are often confined to the home and forbidden from having any contact with men outside the immediate family.

“The public pledges by top Afghan government officials to end wrongful imprisonment of women and girls fleeing abuse sends an important message of equal rights for women,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.

“Now the onus is on President (Hamid) Karzai and his government to promptly free the women and girls who have lost months or years of their lives on these bogus charges,” he added.

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Around 50 percent of women and 95 percent of girls in detention are accused of so-called moral crimes, according to HRW research.

Under the constitution, running away is not considered a criminal offence but judges in Afghanistan have classified it as a crime, based on their interpretation of sharia law.

Police arrest girls and women who run away, usually on the recommendation of their fathers, brothers or husbands who typically accuse them of both running off and having sex outside marriage.

“President Karzai should immediately issue a decree prohibiting all arrests and prosecutions for ?running away’ and order the release of all women and girls currently imprisoned on this charge,” said Adams.

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The rights organisation also urged the government to do more to support 14 shelters, which provide the only refuge for women and girls leaving prison who are at risk of being killed by relatives for allegedly defaming the family.

Although significant progress has been made on women’s rights since a US-led invasion brought down the Taliban, many fear those gains are under threat as NATO troops leave and Kabul seeks peace with Islamist insurgents.

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Trump introduced his family at his official campaign kickoff — including ‘my late brother Fred, Jr’

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President Donald Trump introduced a long-deceased sibling moments after officially announcing his re-election bid during a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida.

"And I am profoundly thankful to my family, I have a great family. Melania, Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, baron, Lara, Jared, Robert, Marianne, Elizabeth and my late brother, Fred, Jr." Trump said.

Fred, Jr. was Trump's older brother and died of a heart attack almost four decades ago, passing in 1981.

"In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Trump said he had learned by watching his brother how bad choices could drag down even those who seemed destined to rise," The New York Times reported in 2016. Seeing his brother suffering led him to avoid ever trying alcohol or cigarettes, he said."

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Commentary

I don’t feel bad for Kyle Kashuv losing Harvard: He gets a glimpse of what it’s like to be black

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Kyle Kashuv losing his admission to Harvard is the dose of reality that America needs now.

Public opinion, at least on the internet, appears to be split over Harvard’s decision to disinvite Kashuv from joining its incoming freshman class. Kashuv, 18, rose to prominence as a young conservative star after he survived the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. While many of his other classmates used the media attention to advocate for gun control, as they fought to deal with the trauma of seeing their classmates murdered, Kashuv did the opposite, becoming the high school outreach director for the conservative group Turning Point USA, lobbying for more guns in schools, and even meeting President Donald Trump.

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2020 Election

Trump un-ironically worries a presidential candidate who refuses to concede and then shreds the constitution

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President Donald Trump officially kicked off his re-election campaign at a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida -- the 60th campaign rally of his presidency.

During the speech, Trump offered a good deal of projection as he made baseless accusations against Democrats -- on the same exact topics where he has been credibly accused.

"This election is a verdict on whether we want to live in a country where the people will lose an election, refused to concede to spend the next two years trying to shred our Constitution and rip your country apart," Trump argued.

Watch:

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