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Love Crimes of Kabul

Jailed for running away from home to escape abuse, for allegations of adultery, and other “moral crimes,” the women of Afghanistan’s Badum Bagh prison band together to fight for their freedom. The film follows three young prisoners as they go to trial, revealing the pressures and paradoxes that women in Afghanistan face today, and the dangerous consequences of refusing to fit into society’s norms. Their defiant actions come to be seen as threats to the very fabric of society, and their acts of self-determination as illegal. Will life outside prison enable these women to experience the freedom they desire? Filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian brings us into the lives of these “outsiders,” and we watch as teenage romantics learn to become steely-eyed negotiators in an effort to secure their future, brokering their freedom with courage, charm, and skill.

Human Rights Watch has documented a wide range of human rights abuses faced by women in Afghanistan, including access to justice and education, child and forced marriage, attacks on women in public life, and violence against women. In the December 2009 report, "We Have the Promises of the World”: Women’s Rights in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch highlights some of the reasons why the state continues to treat so many young women and girls who face terrible abuse as criminals. Despite considerable achievements by women human rights defenders in Afghanistan, the government is increasingly amenable to policy demands of the Taliban and other conservative factions, and is failing to protect vulnerable women and girls.