Newspaper article International New York Times

Young Couple Reunited in Afghanistan after Arrests

Newspaper article International New York Times

Young Couple Reunited in Afghanistan after Arrests

Article excerpt

The government freed Zakia and Mohammad Ali, who married for love despite death threats from their families and criminal charges by the authorities.

Zakia and Mohammad Ali, an Afghan couple who married for love despite death threats from her family and criminal charges by the authorities, have been reunited after they were both freed from custody.

"The Afghan government did the right thing," said Manizha Naderi, executive director of the aid group Women for Afghan Women, whose lawyer, Shukria Khaliqi, won dismissal of the charges against the couple. "They saw the injustice in this case and decided to act."

Mohammad Ali, 21, and Zakia, 18, were reached separately by telephone before being reunited on Tuesday. (Like many Afghans, they do not use surnames.)

"Before I was arrested I was 100 percent happy," Mohammad Ali said. "Now, when my wife is released, I will be 1,000 percent happy."

Zakia said: "After I get released, I hope we can have a happy life again and go and live in a place that is safe for us. …

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