Afghan lawmakers on Friday defended a new family law signed by President Hamid Karzai, saying it included key changes to draft legislation despite UN and Western concerns about restrictions on women.
Karzai signed the law last month, incorporating several changes to a controversial bill drafted by representatives of the Shiite minority but the complete, final version of the legislation has yet to be made public.
A copy of the draft bill, seen by AFP, said, “It is the responsibility of the wife to prepare for sexual satisfaction of her husband and not leave the house without permission, unless there is the need or difficulty.”
Critics interpreted this as making it illegal for a woman to refuse her husband sex and only in an emergency leave the house without permission.
They also said that had it been passed, it would have made it legal for a man to rape his wife.
But the version signed by Karzai says a wife can refuse sex on the basis of “lawful or logical excuses or with permission of her husband,” influential Shiite parliamentarian Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi told AFP.
The changes, which have been seen by AFP, also allow her to leave home without permission “for any lawful purpose within the boundaries accepted by custom,” said Balkhi, who has been involved in drawing up the law.