Shaima left her violent husband and married a man she loved. They lived happily, but after a few years the police came after her – adultery is illegal in Afghanistan – demanding 4,000 afghanis (£42) in exchange for her freedom.
The family did not have the money, and now Shaima, whose expressionless face is adorned with delicate tattoos, is in Afghanistan’s high-security Policharki prison with two children by her second relationship.
“I thought my [new] father-in-law was solving the case,” she says several times in a low voice. Shaima, 30, stares at Fariba, her five-day-old daughter who sleeps in tightly wrapped swaddling clothes on her lap.
She shares a bunk-lined room with 11 other women and 10 children. Close to 80 adults live in the women’s wing of Policharki, which houses about 1,300 in total. The women’s few possessions hang above each bed – a child’s knitted hat, a pair of socks, a small velvet bag. They eat their meals squatting on the floor next to the heater in each room. Clothes hung up to dry line the halls.