Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Afghan foetus 'aborted by razor'

By Martin Vennard
BBC News


The family of a 14-year-old Afghan rape victim face prosecution after her foetus was removed without anaesthetic.

The mother and brother of the girl are accused of cutting her open with a razor blade to perform an abortion.

Doctors say the girl is in a critical condition. A man accused of raping her is under arrest, officials say.

Rape victims and their families in Afghanistan often feel ashamed to report what has happened because people may think the victim consented to sex.

Sex outside marriage is illegal in Afghanistan.

'Dog bite'

The governor of Bamiyan Province, Habiba Sarabi, says that action is being taken.

When the girl was five months pregnant it is alleged her mother and brother took her to a stables and cut her open with a razor blade.

They removed the foetus, which they buried, before stitching up her wound, Governor Sarabi said.

The father eventually took the girl to get medical treatment.

Dr Ghulam Mohammad Nader, head of Bamiyan hospital, said the girl is in a critical condition, but that she had been able to explain what had happened to her.

"The girl stayed at home for three or four days in her condition until her father took her to hospital," Dr Nader said.

"He said a dog had bitten her so that people in the area wouldn't know what had really happened."

The girl has now been transferred to Kabul for treatment.

The provincial governor says the man accused of raping the girl has been arrested and that police are trying to arrest her mother and brother.

The victims of rape and their families in Afghanistan are often afraid to admit what has happened to them because of the stigma and shame attached to the issue.

Sometimes the victims are murdered by their own families.

Critics accuse the authorities of not taking accusations of rape seriously, especially those made by children.

But President Karzai recently called for rapists to be brought to justice and the Afghan Supreme Court suspended three judges who acquitted people accused of rape.

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