Intimidation

Afghan MP threatens reporter with sexual abuse after she asks about marital rape

(screen grab via VICE)

In a clip from a new VICE documentary, Afghan MP Nazir Ahmad Hanafi can be seen saying that a female reporter’s nose should be cut off after she asked him a question about marital rape. In the clip that’s now gone viral, VICE reporter Isobel Yeung challenges the MP on his opposition to the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act — which has been lingering in Afghan parliament since 2009, asking: “What if a husband rapes his wife. Is that domestic abuse? Should the man be punished or should the woman be punished for that, in your opinion?” Hanafi, a conservative Islamic scholar who represents the western province of Herat, told her, “There is a kind of rape you have and another we have in Islam,” but when pressed further on the question said: “I think you should stop it now.”

Then the lawmaker turns away and — and according to the VICE translation — can be heard threatening to cut off the reporter’s nose. Voice of America claims this was misreported, however, and what he actually said was: “Maybe I should give you to an Afghan man (who will sexually overpower you)”. Afghan staffers at VOA who saw the video say this mistranslation happened because the translator wanted to spare the reporters feelings by using a different common Afghan phrase which translates to “cutting off your nose.”

Talking to Radio Free Afghanistan after the clip went viral, Hanafi first denied ever meeting Yeung by claiming it was very easy to make a fake video. When he was confronted with the video however, he said that while Yeung spoke with him, he never threatened her: “When we were talking about marriage issues, I told her, ‘If you want to know about it, you can marry an Afghan man.”

Yeung, whose documentary aired on Sunday night on HBO, told VOA that there was a “hostile environment” throughout the interview, adding that it was “humiliating to be disregarded in that way.” She called for Hanafi’s resignation, saying she experienced just “a tiny, tiny, tiny taste of the amount of disrespect that many Afghan women have to battle every day.”

Read the full story at Voice Of America.

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