An Afghan woman, who was jailed for adultery after being raped by her cousin's husband, has now been forced to marry her attacker to restore the family's honour and avoid becoming a social outcast.
The 22-year-old woman, who is known as Gulnaz, married her attacker last week in Kabul, after spending more than 13 months as a virtual prisoner inside a women's shelter.
Gulnaz's heartbreaking story highlights the desperate plight faced by thousands of women in Afghanistan, who endure horrific abuse and have no effective recourse under the law, the Daily Mail reports.
Gulnaz was found guilty of 'adultery by force' following the brutal attack in 2008 which left her pregnant.
She was sentenced to two years in jail, which was later increased to 12 years on appeal.
Gulnaz gave birth to her daughter in the Badam Bagh women's prison in Kabul before President Hamid Karzai took the highly unusual step of freeing her with no pre-conditions in December 2011.
But free from prison, Gulnaz faced a life of isolation and poverty as mothers without husbands are shunned by their communities and their own families and become social outcasts.
It has now been suggested that she reluctantly accepted the offer of getting married to her attacker and approached the rapist's family to arrange terms.
While she was staying at the shelter she reportedly used a needle to tattoo her rapist's name on her hand in a sign of love.
The marriage was formalised at a family court in Kabul on Saturday, but many involved in the case fear Gulnaz will be consigned to a life of domestic slavery as the rapist's second wife.
There are even fears she could be killed to restore his family honour, the report added. (ANI)