February 11, 2011 / 10:15 AM / 8 years ago

Top press award for photo of disfigured Afghan woman

Jodi Bieber, a Institute for Artist Management for Time magazine photographer based in South Africa, has won the World Press Photo of the Year 2010 with this picture of Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, who fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the U.S.. Jury chair David Burnett said about the photo: "This could become one of those pictures - and we have maybe just ten in our lifetime - where if somebody says 'you know, that picture of a girl…', you know exactly which one they're talking about". The prize-winning entries of the World Press Photo Contest 2010, the world's largest annual press photography contest, were announced February 11, 2011. REUTERS/Jodi Bieber/Institute for Artist Management for Time/Handout

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A shocking portrait of an Afghan woman whose ears and nose were sliced off by her husband as punishment for leaving him, taken by Jodi Bieber for Time magazine, won the top World Press Photo prize on Friday.

Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, left her husband complaining of domestic violence. A Taliban commander ordered that she face justice and her husband cut off her nose and ears. She now lives in the United States where she had reconstructive surgery.

“It’s an incredibly strong image. It sends out an enormously powerful message to the world, about the 50 percent of the population that are women, so many of whom still live in miserable conditions, suffering violence. It is strong because the woman looks so dignified, iconic,” said Ruth Eichhorn, one of the judges, in a statement. Reuters photographers won two first prizes in the annual contest.

Mike Hutchings of Reuters won first prize in the Sports Singles category for his photograph from the World Cup semi-final in Cape Town, South Africa, showing the Netherlands’ Demy de Zeeuw being kicked in the face by Uruguay’s Martin Caceres.

Omar Feisal of Reuters won first prize in the Daily Life Singles category for his photograph of a man carrying a shark through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Andrew Biraj of Reuters won third prize in the same category for his photo of an overcrowded train in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Reporting by Sara Webb; editing by Tim Pearce

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