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Two burqa-clad Afghan women walk on the outskirts of Herat.
An international rights group says Afghan President Hamid Karzai should not sign a law passed by parliament that would deny women protection from domestic violence and forced marriage.

The parliament passed a "criminal procedure law" last year that experts say contains articles that deny women legal protections.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Karzai to send the bill back to legislators with amendments.

HRW said the proposed legislation would run counter to a groundbreaking law on Elimination of Violence Against Women passed in 2009, and "follows several other efforts by the Afghan parliament to weaken already inadequate legal protections for women's rights."

Afghanistan's parliament is dominated by conservative clerics and former warlords.

A Karzai spokesman said he could not comment on the president's intentions.

With reporting by AFP
Zmitser Dashkevich (file photo)
MINSK -- The leader of the unregistered Youth Front political movement in Belarus has been fined $135 for a parole violation.

Zmitser Dashkevich did not attend the trial in Minsk on January 30.

His parole officer testified that Dashkevich violated his parole by missing one mandatory visit to a police station.

Dashkevich told RFE/RL that Belarus's parole policies are anachronistic and make "no sense."

Dashkevich was released from jail in August after serving more than 2 1/2 years for allegedly assaulting two people in December 2010.

Dashkevich denies the charge, calling it politically motivated.

Under the terms of his release, he was ordered to stay at home between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. for six months and to regularly visit his parole officer.

Amnesty International designated Dashkevich a "prisoner of conscience," jailed for political views.

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