British barrister mounts mission to save more than 100 female Afghan judges

Baroness Kennedy raised more than £1m to bring the women to safety

A British barrister has raised over £1 million ($1.37m) to transport more than 100 female Afghan judges to safety.

Baroness Helena Kennedy organised planes and airlifts to rescue the women and their families from Kabul to take them to Athens.

The UK lawyer spoke to Greece's President Katerina Sakellaropoulou — a high court judge and the country's first female president — and asked for her help.

The women and their families are now staying in hotels in Athens.

Baroness Kennedy described it as “Schindler’s List time”, in a reference to the 1993 Steven Spielberg film.

“These women were in mortal danger,” she said. “They were running courts on things like domestic violence and child marriage and many of them locked up Taliban. As soon as the Taliban came back they had to flee.”

Three flights have so far taken more than 100 judges and their families to safety.

She is urging UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to help her support the judges.

The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) initially stated judges were eligible under the scheme but it no longer includes this group.

Baroness Kennedy is director of human rights for the International Bar Association which had helped train female lawyers and judges in Afghanistan.

She is appealing for help so that a further 100 judges and their families can find sanctuary.

Almost 300 women have sat as judges in Afghanistan in the last 20 years.

Updated: November 1st 2021, 1:49 PM