UPDATE 2 November: A court in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, has denied bail for Sharbat Gula. McCurry says: "We will continue to do everything and anything we can to secure Sharbat's release. She has been the symbol of refugees for decades. Now she has become the face of unwanted migrants."
UPDATE 27 October: The Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, posted on Facebook that a hearing has been set by the Peshawar court for Tuesday 1 November, after which he hopes Sharbat Gula will be released. On 27 October, Steve McCurry said: "In the past few hours, we have made contact with a prominent human rights attorney in Pakistan, who will take her case. We urge the international community to speak out on her behalf and the millions of others who simply need a place to live without fear."
The photographer Steve McCurry has raised concerns about the arrest of Sharbat Gula in Pakistan, the green-eyed Afghan girl he photographed in 1984 for the cover of National Geographic magazine. Gula has reportedly been detained for living illegally in Pakistan using false identification documents.
Gula was taken into custody by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency. “[The agency] arrested Sharbat Gula, an Afghan woman, today for obtaining a fake ID card,” Shahid Ilyas, an official of the National Database Registration Authority, told Agence France-Presse. If convicted, Gula could face up to 14 years in prison.
“I am committed to doing anything and everything possible to provide legal and financial support for her and her family,” McCurry told The Art Newspaper. “We object to this action by the authorities in the strongest possible terms. She has suffered throughout her entire life, and believe that her arrest is an egregious violation of her human rights.”
McCurry took Gula’s picture at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp on the Afghan-Pakistani border. The photograph, which was published in June 1985, shows the 12-year-old with piercing green eyes in a red headscarf. "I knew she had an incredible look, a penetrating gaze," he told CNN in an interview last year.