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US Denies Visa to Afghan Women's Rights Activist

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TEHRAN, March 22 (ICANA) – Despite having visited the United States several times before, women's rights activist Malalai Joya has been denied a visa by the American embassy in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 9:49:07 PM
US Denies Visa to Afghan Women's Rights Activist

Joya was planning to travel around the U.S. for three weeks to promote the paperback edition of her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords, published by Scribner.

In addition to being a published author, Joya has served in Afghanistan's parliament and been a vocal critic of the Taliban, the administration of President Hamid Karzai and the U.S.-led war in her country.

Colleagues of Joya's say she was denied a visa by officials at the U.S. embassy because she was “unemployed” and “lives underground.”

“The reason Joya lives underground is because she faces the constant threat of death for having had the courage to speak up for women's rights-it's obscene that the U.S. government would deny her entry,” Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women's Mission said in a prepared statement.

Joya has previously conducted four book tours in the U.S., most recently in October of 2009, and never before encountered trouble obtaining a visa.

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