London: A new research has claimed that about 400 women and teenage girls are currently lodged in jails across Afghanistan on the charges of committing "moral crimes".
The research by Human Rights Watch discovered that female inmates are being held for "immorality crimes” which includes running away from home to escape beatings of violent husbands or parent –in-laws.
On a general basis, all teenage girls languishing in jails are accused of immorality, either for having extramarital sex or running away from their homes .In some cases, women had been charged with having extra-marital sex after being raped or forced into prostitution, according to the research.
Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, said "It is shocking that 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban, women and girls are still imprisoned for running away from domestic violence or forced marriage. No one should be locked up for fleeing a dangerous situation even if it's at home. President (Hamid) Karzai and Afghanistan's allies should act decisively to end this abusive and discriminatory practice."

Eloping is not an offence under the Afghan penal code. The Supreme Court had said in 2010 that women and girls who flee from their homes and don't immediately go to the police or a close relative should be locked up as precautionary measures against prostitution and promiscuity.
The court declined to make any comment on the report. The United Nations has estimated that around three quarters of marriages in Afghanistan are forced and unmarried girls are also sometimes given, or exchanged, to resolve disputes or stand in place of a dowry.
Only a few women are able to gain divorces. If they run away, the husband's family members often press for a conviction of extramarital sex as well, as an extra punishment, the research by the rights group, which has headquarters in New York, has claimed.
"Even the most horrific abuses suffered by women seem to elicit nothing more than a shrug from prosecutors, despite laws criminalising violence against women," Roth said.