We look at the faces of recent protesters in the streets of Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, and we see that many of those who seem most angry about repression and enthusiastic about freedom are young women. And well they should be given the sexist treatment, the prejudice against them, their brutalization by men, and the oppressive and ancient cultural customs and laws stacked against them.

In Afghanistan, the female prison population is growing by leaps and bounds. In this riveting documentary by Iranian-American director Tanaz Eshaghian, we are taken inside Badum Bagh prison where 125 women prisoners are incarcerated for "moral crimes" of adultery, pre-marital sex, or running away from home (a euphemism for leaving an abusive household). These unfortunate women are often behind bars for months before their cases are brought before a judge. One of these austere men says "Punishment is for reforming society." A female prison guard notes with an authoritarian tone in her voice: "Women have too much freedom. . . . If they were good women, they wouldn't be here." Eshaghian presents interviews with three women who are in various states of anger, impatience, and upset over their plight.

Kareema is an unhappy young woman who is pregnant. Both she and her fiancé were arrested for having pre-marital sex. Now she is hoping that he will marry her in a civil court so they can avoid a harsher sentence. She is a very strong-willed young woman as seen in her feisty treatment of the men around her.

Sabereh is a 17 year old whose father turned her in after catching her having sex with a boy. Her future seems bright after tests prove that she is not pregnant but then Sabereh is accused of sodomy. She has the bad luck to get a rigid and harsh judge.

Then there is the case of Aleema who escaped from her abusive home and sought refuge with Zia, a woman whom she claims wanted her to marry her son. They each blame the other for the humiliation of imprisonment.

Our hearts go out to these desperate and sad young women who have lost their freedom and face an uncertain future. In the last Human Rights Watch World Report 2011, it was noted that attacks on women and girls in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan have increased. Schools for girls over 10 years old have been targeted by the Taliban as well.

Screened at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater 2011.