"This is a systematic failure. This is corruption at the core of the justice system. I don't know how they can justify how this happened to this girl," said Motley, adding that the release would have involved the connivance of three judges and a prosecutor "at an absolute minimum".
Human rights activists have warned of an new assault on women's rights in Afghanistan after judges and prosecutors allowed the early release of three people convicted for the brutal torture of a child bride, and conservative lawmakers made an aggressive bid to prevent relatives testifying against each other.
If successful, the small change – introduced covertly into the criminal prosecution code – would stop the vast majority of cases of violence against women from ever reaching court.
Together with the quashing of three convictions for the attempted murder of the teenager Sahar Gul, it marks an alarming two-pronged assault on women's rights by both those who make the laws and those tasked with upholding them.
"The last two months have really been a parade of horrible for women's rights in Afghanistan," said Heather Barr, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, warning that the proposed change to the criminal code would leave most abused women with no legal protection against violence.
"Underage marriage, forced marriage, domestic violence, sale of women – these crimes are almost always committed against women by family members, whether through birth or through marriage."
Rest: The Guardian.