Karzai to review controversial new rape law

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Kabul, Apr.4 (ANI): Facing strong criticism from the international community over his sanction of a new law that allows men to rape their wives legally, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has said he would order a review of it and possibly send back to parliament if it was found that women's rights are being violated.

According to the Daily Express, Karzai said he had ordered the Justice Ministry to review the law and if anything in it contravened the country's constitution or sharia law "measures will be taken".

The legislation is intended to regulate family life inside Afghanistan's shiite community. But the United Nations Development Fund for Women said it "legalises the rape of a wife by her husband".

The United States has urged Karzai to review the law and Karzai said he had spoken to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about it.

One of the law's most controversial articles stipulates the wife "is bound to preen for her husband as and when he desires".

"As long as the husband is not travelling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night," Article 132 of the law says.

"Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband."

One provision also appears to protect the woman's right to sex inside marriage saying the "man should not avoid having sexual relations with his wife longer than once every four months".

Critics say Mr Karzai signed the legislation in the past month only for political gains several months before the country's presidential election. (ANI)

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