Hamid Karzai signs law 'legalising rape in marriage'
President Hamid Karzai has signed a law the UN says legalises rape in marriage and prevents women from leaving the house without permission.
The law, which has not been publicly released, is believed to state women can only seek work, education or doctor's appointments with their husband's permission.
Only fathers and grandfathers are granted custody of children under the law, according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
Opponents of the legislation governing the personal lives of Afghanistan's Shia minority have said it is "worse than during the Taliban".
The bill passed both houses of the Afghan parliament, but was so contentious that the United Nations and women's rights campaigners have so far been unable to see a copy of the approved bill.
Shinkai Zahine Karokhail, a female MP, said the law had been rushed through with little debate.
She told the Guardian newspaper: "They wanted to pass it almost like a secret negotiation, "There were lots of things that we wanted to change, but they didn't want to discuss it because Karzai wants to please the Shia before the election."
The Afghan justice ministry confirmed the law had been signed, but said it would not be published until technical difficulties had been overcome.
A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai would not comment.
20 hours ago