Afghanistan:"My husband cut off my ears and nose and broke my teeth"

Doctors at a hospital in Qalat, capital of Zabul Province in southern Afghanistan, are treating a brutally tortured woman whose husband cut off both her ears and nose, broke her teeth and shaved her head only three months after their marriage.
The victim, 16-year-old Nazia, is also suffering from psychiatric distress due to her experience, according to a doctor in Qalat hospital.
From her bed in Qalat hospital Nazia told IRIN her story:

“My family wedded me to Mumtaz [a 40-year-old man] some three months ago, in Pakistan. Soon after our marriage we moved to his house in Qalat where his relatives told me he had another wife who had died a year ago. In Qalat my husband was jobless and was always complaining about economic problems. Two weeks after we moved to our new home he beat me for no obvious reason.

“One day I asked him to let me go to a party at my in-laws. He agreed and said I should return home in the afternoon. That day, although I came home early, I found him very angry. He beat me again, worse than the first time, and warned that he would kill me if I stepped outside the home again. He also told his brother and nephews not to come to our house in his absence.

“Day-after-day Mumtaz’s suspicion increased. He was thinking other men were visiting me while he was not at home. He did not listen to my pleas and was always saying that all women are bad and unfaithful to men. During this time he often beat me with a stick.

“One night he hit me so much that I fainted. When I regained consciousness I found my head had been shaved. I cried so much, but he did not care.

“One week later he knocked me down, bound my hands, and then broke my teeth with a stone. He also poured boiling water on my feet. After this I could not walk and was in a lot of pain, but he said I was only pretending.

“No one was coming to our house so I could not tell anyone about my situation. I had nowhere else to go either. My family lives in Pakistan.

“One night I could not cook dinner for him because I could not stand on my feet. He got so upset when he found that there was nothing for him to eat. He started beating me. Again, he bound my hands with a piece of cloth. I felt a terrible pain in my left ear and then blood was flowing down my face. I thought that he wanted to kill me so I started screaming. Then I felt a similar pain in my right ear and more blood.

“I tasted a mixture of blood and tears in my mouth while my voice was fading. I felt the worst pain in my life only a few seconds later when my husband used his knife to cut off my nose. I fainted.

“Now I do not know where my husband has gone.”

December 2007