from rferl.org: EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has expressed concern about proposed Afghan legislation that rights groups say would not protect women from domestic violence and forced marriage. Ashton said in a statement that if the bill is signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, it will make it harder to prosecute people in domestic violence and child-abuse cases. She added that it would prevent alleged abusers' relatives from testifying in court as prosecution witnesses. Ashton called the draft law a "serious backward step" for women's rights in Afghanistan. The parliament passed the "criminal procedure law" last year. New York-based Human Rights Watch called last week for Karzai to send the bill back to legislators with amendments. A Karzai spokesman said he could not comment on the president's intentions.