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Afghan mullah sentenced to 20 years in prison for rape of 10-year-old girl

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KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan court has sentenced a mullah to 20 years in prison after finding the religious teacher guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl.

The sentence, passed by a Kabul judge on Saturday, has been welcomed by women's support groups as a rare victory in their fight for justice for female victims of sex crimes. Rape is often treated as adultery in Afghanistan, and victims can face prison themselves.

Hassina Sarwari, who runs a shelter for women in northern Kunduz province, where the rape took place, welcomed the court's decision saying on Sunday that if the trial had not been transferred to Kabul the result would probably have been very different.

The rape took place in May in the girl's home village near the provincial capital, also called Kunduz.

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