Time's Disfigured Cover Girl Gets Some Justice

12/08/2010 at 04:00 PM EST

Time's Disfigured Cover Girl Gets Some Justice
Bibi Aisha before and after reconstructive surgery
Courtesy Time; Arun Nevader/WireImage
Bibi Aisha has begun to recover after her husband, father-in-law, and brother in-law cut off her nose and ears in a brutal attack in a remote area of Afghanistan – and now she might also see some justice.

Aisha, a child bride who dared to run from her arranged marriage to a Taliban fighter only to be captured again and mutilated, grabbed world attention in August when Time magazine used a picture of her on its cover.

Her story prompted aid groups and the American Embassy in Kabul to bring her to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery and treatment for the emotional impact of her ordeal.

Few thought Aisha, now 20 and living in Brooklyn, would ever see justice, however, largely because the attack happened in a remote area under Taliban control. But after a combination of police work and persistence, Aisha's father-in-law, called simply Sulaiman, has been arrested at a busy bazaar in Afghanistan, district police chief Mohammed Gul told the New York Times. Gul said Sulaiman later confessed to participating in the mutilation.



It is unusual for police in Afghanistan to intervene when villagers impose punishments even as severe as flogging and stoning, which are allowed under Shariah law, but Aisha's case was different.

"This is against Afghan-ism, against Afghan and Shariah laws, against every principle in the world, against humanity, so that's why we wanted to bring him to justice," said the provincial police chief where Sulaiman was arrested, Brig. Gen. Juma Gul Himat.

Aisha survived her ordeal after she was mutilated and left for dead, managing to make her way to the safety of a women's shelter in Kabul run by Women for Afghan Women.

"He made a big mistake," the general said of Sulaiman. "He disfigured a creature of God, and he was proud of what he had done."



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