Edinburgh MP Joanna Cherry appeals to Rishi Sunak to save women threatened with death in Afghanistan
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The Edinburgh South West MP said there were about 100 women and their families trapped in Afghanistan, living in hiding and in daily fear for their lives. They have received death threats and their former homes have been raided by the Taliban looking for them.
Ms Cherry met the Prime Minister in his office in the House of Commons on Wednesday to press him for action. The meeting coincided with the publication of direct testimony from former women judges in Afghanistan gathered by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Ms Cherry said: “The accounts from these women is harrowing, they have been living in daily fear for their lives since the Taliban ceased back power in Afghanistan. One woman has already been found and murdered. I have urged the Prime Minister to help them. He understands their perilous situation and we had a productive meeting which I hope will bring results.
“The women are at risk directly from Taliban and from the men they helped to prosecute who have been freed from prison. We encouraged female prosecutors and female judges in Afghanistan who stood up for the rule of law and for a more inclusive and equal nation. Those left behind are in mortal danger.”
Ms Cherry also presented a petition in the Commons – which had been signed online by more than 56,000 people – calling for the Government to evacuate and help resettle the female former judges and prosecutors and their families by providing emergency visas as a matter of urgency.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation has said that when the Taliban took over Afghanistan there were about 270 women judges at high risk of reprisals and many escaped in the chaotic aftermath of the takeover, some in a rescue mission part-funded by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and are now rebuilding their lives in countries like the UK, Canada, Germany, the United States and Australia. But others remain and the foundation quoted former judge Marzia Babakarkhail, who is now living in Britain, saying it was “only a matter of time before one of these judges gets killed”.