An Afghan judge has sentenced a mullah, accused of raping a 10-year-old girl, to 20 years in prison and slapped him with over $30,000 in fines.
The New York Times reports Judge Mohammad Suliman Rasuli sentenced the mullah, Mohammad Amin, after he tried to rely on a Shariah law defense that would have classified the crime as adultery rather than rape.
Amin confessed to the incident but claimed the girl had seduced him and that she was believed to be over 17 which is the age of consent under Shariah law, a strict form of Islamic law. Amin’s defense team claimed that the encounter should have been considered adultery and the mullah should only be sentenced for that crime and given 100 lashes.
Rasuli dismissed the claim.
“She cannot commit adultery; she is a child,” he said from the bench in the country’s capital of Kabul. “This is rape.”
The rape occurred in May in the small village of Kunduz. Amin was a local mullah teaching religious studies to a group of girls. He reportedly asked the group to stay behind after class one day to do some cleaning. Then, when the three girls were about to leave, Amin reportedly asked the victim to stay. Investigators and prosecutors said there was evidence that Amin bound the girl’s hands and taped her mouth shut before he raped her.
The girl, who was in court during the testimony and read of Amin’s earlier admission, lashed out at her attacker.
“Hey liar, hey liar,” she said. “God hate you, you are dirt, you are dirt, you are a vampire.
“You shamed me, liar, you destroyed my life, you brought shame to my father,” she yelled out at another time. “Please, director, hang him.”
Horia Mosadiq, an Afghanistan researcher with Amnesty International told CNN the case underscored the brutality many women and children suffer in the country.
“This case shows the level of cruelty that children in Afghanistan face,” she said. “This is not an isolated case.”
Others applauded the judge’s conviction and sentence, saying it was a step forward for human rights in Afghanistan.
“It makes us believe and trust more in the justice system in the country,” said Naheed Samadi Bahram, program director for Women for Afghan Women. “A little young girl from a far province gets justice for herself, this is amazing. This is a success for human rights in the country.”
Mohammad Rasoul, the girl’s uncle, also praised the sentence.
“We welcome the decision by the judge as that is the maximum punishment he could be given according to our country's law,” he told The Associated Press.