The woman, Sara, and her family found out about the pardon only when they saw the rapists back in their village.
“Everyone was shocked,” said Sara’s husband, Dilawar, who like many Afghans uses only one name. “These were men who had been sentenced and found guilty by the Supreme Court, walking around freely.”
Sara’s case highlights concerns about the close relationship between the Afghan president and men accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.
The men were freed discreetly but the rape itself was public and brutal. It took place in September 2005, in the run up to Afghanistan’s first democratic parliamentary elections.