New UK peer Lord Hintze paid for 500 flights to rescue people on 'Taliban kill list'

More than 100 female lawyers and their families were among those saved with the peer's funding

The Australian-British businessman served in the Australian military and is an honorary captain in the Royal Navy reserve. Bloomberg
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Lord Hintze, who entered the House of Lords in November, has received praise for funding the evacuation of hundreds of people from Afghanistan, including 103 female lawyers.

The Australian-British businessman, who gave his maiden speech on Thursday during a debate on the state of the armed forces, served in the Australian military and is an honorary captain in the Royal Navy reserve.

The billionaire hedge fund boss was put forward for a peerage by Boris Johnson after donating millions of pounds to the Conservative Party.

Lord Hintze, a philanthropist, also paid for flights out of Afghanistan for 500 people organised by human rights lawyer and Labour peer Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws.

Human rights campaigner and independent cross-bench peer Lord Alton told the upper chamber: “I’m especially pleased to be speaking in the same debate as Lord Hintze — he’s a long-standing and good friend.

“Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws has a commitment away from the House today, but she would want me to recall the remarkable response by Lord Hintze when she was desperately trying to evacuate women judges from Afghanistan.

“Flights had to be arranged at great expense and Lord Hintze did not hesitate in a Schindler’s List moment in finding the lion’s share, making a spontaneous, generous and very substantial contribution in enabling women with a Taliban price on their heads to get out of Afghanistan.”

Women banned from university education in Afghanistan — in pictures

Lord Alton continued: “Five hundred people were evacuated, 103 were women lawyers and judges, all of whom with their children and husbands were on the Taliban kill list.

“I’ve met some of those women judges — and know that Lord Hintze’s intervention and that of the author JK Rowling undoubtedly saved many lives.

“His voice is one that deserves to be listened to with respect and admiration in this House.”

In August 2021, large-scale evacuations of foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans took place amid the withdrawal of US and Nato forces during the final days of the war in Afghanistan.

But after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15, thousands of people were left stranded, among them women who, in the two decades since the Taliban were ousted, had qualified as judges in Afghanistan’s new legal system.

Afghanistan's lost female athletes in Kabul — in pictures

As the Taliban took over, they feared for their lives, especially those who had prosecuted men that were now being released.

Lady Kennedy, the director of human rights for the International Bar Association, previously recalled how she was receiving phone calls asking for help.

She organised the transport and documentation for hundreds of female lawyers and their families, a task which required a large amount of money.

Lord Hintze, who offered a substantial sum to ensure this happened, was later supported in his introduction to the Lords by Lady Kennedy herself.

Child labour in Afghanistan — in pictures

“The world is becoming more complex and indeed dangerous,” he said in the upper chamber on Thursday.

“The ability to legislate freely is something many take for granted. We should feel blessed, rather than burdened, that we have a solid constitution with checks and balances, built up by precedents and by the lived experience of generations over centuries.

“This is not easy — it is protected by exceptionally professional, ethical and effective armed forces, who are there by consent, commanding respect of our nation, our allies and of course the world.”

Updated: January 26, 2023, 11:14 PM