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Afghanistan court releases men convicted of torturing 15-year-old bride

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A court in Kabul ordered the early release of three people convicted over the torture of a child bride, an official confirmed Saturday, in a move denounced by activists as a blow for women’s rights.

Sahar Gul, who was 15 at the time her ordeal, was burned, beaten and had her fingernails pulled out by her husband and in-laws after she refused to become a prostitute in a case that shocked the world.

She was found in the basement of her husband’s house in northeastern Baghlan province in late 2011, having been locked in a toilet for six months prior to her rescue by police.

Her father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were sentenced to prison for 10 years each for torture and attempted murder, though her husband remains at large.

“But after the court reviewed their case, it found out that they were only involved in family violence,” Supreme Court spokesman Abdullah Attaee told AFP.

The court did not have enough evidence against them, he said, adding a fresh prosecution would be launched .

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“For now, the court has ruled that the time they have spent in jail is enough for them,” he said, though he could not say when the ruling was made or whether the trio had yet been freed.

Afghan rights groups expressed indignation over the early releases, calling it a step back in time for Afghanistan’s women.

“This case, once heralded as a legal triumph underscoring the advances for women’s rights in the past decade in Afghanistan is now a harbinger of a grim future,” Women for Afghan Women, a Kabul and New York based women’s rights organisation who helped Gul during the trial wrote on their website.

Violence and abuse against women continues to be a major problem in Afghanistan a decade after US-led troops brought down the notorious Taliban regime.

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In May the Afghan parliament cut short a debate on a bill to protect women from violence after complaints from some traditionalist MPs that it was against Islamic teaching.

The Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law, which was passed by a presidential decree in 2009, is seen as a benchmark piece of legislation marking progress since the fall of the Taliban regime nearly 12 years ago.

[Image: “Gavel and law book” via Shutterstock]

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George Conway annihilates Trump’s claim that Twitter censors him

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On Wednesday, following Trump's virtually incomprehensible rant on Fox Business about how Twitter is secretly stifling his content, conservative lawyer George Conway posted a scathing rebuke of his behavior:

https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1143868020424617989?s=21

George Conway, the husband of Trump's former campaign manager and counselor Kellyanne Conway, has been a frequent and vocal critic of the president's behavior.

Republicans have increasingly scapegoated an imagined political conspiracy of social media companies for every problem that they have online, claiming that there is a plot to censor or "shadow ban" conservative content.

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This is how Florida Republicans plan to hand the election to Trump in 2020

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In 2018, voters in Florida passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to ex-felons. The measure passed 65 to 35 percent.

Now, Florida Governor and major Trump ally Ron DeSantis is expected to blunt the impact of the measure by approving a bill that would require ex-felons to have paid off all fees connected to their sentence before voting. That means Donald Trump might get a major boost in 2020, reports the Daily Beast.

SB 7066 requires ex-felons to pay off all financial obligations from their sentencing or get them excused by a judge.

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Please quit lecturing actual Democrats about how to win

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As I write this, we are just hours away from the first debate of the presidential primary season. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since the last round of primary debates. It feels like 40. But here we are, getting ready to embark on yet another presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump. Everyone on the planet has advice for the Democratic candidates about what they need to do to beat him. It may be the most annoying conversation in all of politics, and that's saying something.

The pundits are all dully blathering on about "lanes" again, extending the horse race metaphor to ridiculous lengths, as they did in the GOP primaries in 2016. So far they've declared the lanes to be "establishment," "insurgent," "youth," "black vote" and "working class." And yes, they are meaningless, since the person who wins the nomination will have to take up big parts of all these "lanes" and more. But it makes it easy for pundits and analysts to drone on endlessly about polling, despite the fact that there is very little chance this campaign will end up going the way they predict.

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