Doco on women’s prison


Next week’s fea­ture for Massey’s Arts on Wed­nes­day is No Burqas Be­hind Bars, a film that fea­tured last week in the The Trav­el­ling Film South Asia Fes­ti­val at City Li­brary.

Di­rected by Nima Sar­ves­tani, the 2012 Swedish doc­u­men­tary re­veals the plight of women im­pris­oned for ‘‘moral crimes’’ in Afghanistan’s Takhar Prison. In the coun­try’s north, the prison holds 40 women, and 34 chil­dren in four cells.

Women who leave their hus­bands, like 20-year-old Sima, who with her five chil­dren is serv­ing a 15-year sen­tence for flee­ing an abu­sive spouse, re­ceive harsher sen­tences than male mur­der­ers.

The film fo­cuses on Sima and oth­ers im­pris­oned for sim­i­lar ‘‘of­fences’’ un­der ex­tremely chal­leng­ing con­di­tions, as a re­sult of re­pres­sive cul­tural and re­li­gious cus­toms.

No Burqas Be­hind Bars screens for 80 min­utes next Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 5 in the Black Sheep Theatre, Wool Build­ing Rm2, on Univer­sity Ave from 12.30pm. En­try is free to all.


A woman stands at the gate of Afghanistan’s Takhar Prison in a scene from the doc­u­men­tary No Burqas Be­hind Bars.

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