Sharbat Gula, the ‘Afghan Girl’ featured in an iconic National Geographic cover, has been arrested in Pakistan for living in the country with fraudulent identity papers.
The piercing photo of the 12-year-old Gula, taken by Steve McMurry, drew attention to the plight of Afghan refugees who fled to Pakistan in the 1980s and became one of the most famous magazine covers in history.
Now, Pakistani officials say Gula faces a possible prison sentence after Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency arrested her after a two-year investigation into forged national identity cards in Peshwar, the AFP reports. “FIA arrested Sharbat Gula, an Afghan woman, today for obtaining a fake ID card,” Shahid Ilyas, an FIA officer, told AFP. If convicted, Gula faces seven to 14 years in prison.
Gula made headlines last year when officials said she used false information to obtain a Computerized National Identity Card along with two men who claimed to be her sons, according to AFP. She was arrested on Wednesday following the investigation.
McMurry, the photographer who made Gula’s face famous worldwide, wrote on Facebook that he is “committed to doing anything and everything possible to provide legal and financial support for her and her family.”
“I object to this action by the authorities in the strongest possible terms,” he wrote. “She has suffered throughout her entire life, and her arrest is an egregious violation of her human rights.”
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Write to Mahita Gajanan at firstname.lastname@example.org