“The police is my life”
Herat, 2 April, 2012: Four brave women talk about their work as prosecutors and police officers and the challenges they face. They were part of EUPOL’s Cooperation for Police and Prosecutor (CoPP) Training from 24 March to 5 April in Herat City. Among the 20 participants from Herat city and the districts were one female trainer and three female participants. EUPOL’s Rohullah Esmati had a chat with them.
Question: “Please tell us something about yourselves”
Mrs. Khalida*, Police Officer, Violence against Women Department, Herat CID: I am 45 years old and for 25 years of my life I worked with the Afghan Police. The Police is my life.
Ms. Karima*, Police Officer, Family Response Unit, Herat Police: I am originally from Balkh province, having moved to Herat with my family in 1995. I graduated from Herat University – Faculty of Arts, but due to my strong passion for justice I joined the police.
Mrs. Navida*, Prosecutor, Attorney General’s Office (AGO) Kabul, CoPP Trainer: I graduated in 1989 from Kabul University, Faculty of Law and have worked ever since as a prosecutor in Kabul.
Question: “Where did you start your careers and how did it evolve?”
Malalai: I worked in various offices and departments in the Attorney’s General Office in Kabul, then in Herat. Since last year I am a monitoring prosecutor, overseeing the activities of governmental and non-governmental organisations.
Khalida: When I joined the police I started to work as an administration staff member, going up the hierarchy along the years. Since 2003, my job as a policewoman is to receive and deal with complaints from women who are victims of violence.
Karima: After joining the National Police, I started to work with family related matters, and I am now the Head of the Family Response section, where I work on problems regarding women and children. Parallel to my police duties, I am pursuing a Masters’ program at a university in Herat.
Navida: I started to work as a junior investigative prosecutor, then moved on to be a public security prosecutor. Now I am a monitoring prosecutor, overseeing the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Question: “Is there any specific situation or case that you recall as a highlight of your career?”
Malalai: Yes, it was an unfortunate and tragic situation. When I was an investigative prosecutor I received a complaint regarding a forced marriage. The father of the bride was a drug addict who married his nine year old daughter to a 50 years old man. I managed to nullify the marriage in court, and also obtained a conviction of the criminal.
Karima: I take pride in serving Afghan women. Most of the cases that deal with are related to domestic violence, beatings and assaults. I deal with each one of them with the same care as if it would involve somebody I hold dear.
Khalida: Even after a few years already spent with the police and in my line of duty, I am still particularly distressed by the high rate of cases of self-burning of women. The main reason behind this desperate gesture is domestic violence. I hope that the day will come in which these situations will end.
Navida: Starting to work with EUPOL and GIZ was an extraordinary experience for me. I also travelled to Finland where we wrote the Police Prosecutor Cooperation Manual. While being there I also learned about the opportunity to become a CoPP Trainer, so I applied. After completing the five weeks course, this training is my first opportunity to act as a CoPP trainer.
Question: “How do you find time for both your family and your professional duties?”
Malalai: It is not easy. I have five children – the oldest one is also working as a prosecutor and he has joined us in the CoPP training here. It makes me proud to have my son as a colleague.
Karima: I have four children, two daughters and two sons. My oldest son is also a police officer here in Herat.
Khalida: I am a single woman and I live with my family – my parents, my five brothers and three sisters.
Navida: It is not easily acceptable for an Afghan woman, regardless of her position, to travel in Afghanistan, and certainly not when it comes to travel for long periods of time. As the CoPP training is more than two weeks long, I was a bit afraid whether I would be able to join as a trainer. My family was very supportive of me and my eldest son has agreed to join me. I really think that some things are starting to change, I was really happy to have three active women participants in the training.
*Names have been changed