An Afghan woman who was imprisoned for adultery after authorities learned she'd been raped by a relative has been freed after a presidential pardon.

The woman, known as Gulnaz, was raped by her cousin's husband two years ago, according to media reports. She became pregnant, which alerted authorities that she'd had sex outside of marriage.

She was jailed for "adultery by force" and was sent to jail to serve a two-year sentence. That sentence was later increased to 12 years after a failed appeal, but then cut back again to three years in November, Reuters reported.

Gulnaz was released overnight, several weeks after Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a pardon, her lawyer Kimberley Motley said Wednesday.

Motley said her client is still "a little overwhelmed" and wants to evaluate the situation and see what her options are for a future with her daughter — who was born while Gulnaz was in prison.


Afghan President Hamid Karzai pardoned the woman, known as Gulnaz, earlier this month. (S. Sabawoon/Associated Press)

Initial reports after the pardon was announced suggested that Gulnaz would be required to marry her rapist as a condition of her release, but her lawyer said that the release was unconditional.

Motley said that given the choice, her client would not want to marry her attacker, who is still in jail.

Motley told CBC News the release was a "huge victory" for Gulnaz, adding that it was also a step towards protecting other rape victims within the Afghan justice system.

The American lawyer said she still had concerns about her client's security post-release, but noted that Gulnaz is happy and hopeful for her future.