Female Afghan judges-the trailblazers of women’s rights and defenders of the law are marginalized in Afghanistan. Over 220 female judges are hiding since the Taliban takeover.
Dark days for female Afghan judges
With the Taliban in power, female judges in Afghanistan are in hiding. Out of hundreds of Female judges, six of them spoke out to the BBC from their temporary hiding places. One of them, Masooma (name changed for her safety) has convicted several men for their violence against women. Unfortunately, with the Taliban rule came the release of criminals from prison, and death threats soon followed. Masooma began receiving voice notes, text messages, and several calls from unknown numbers.
“It was midnight when we heard the Taliban had freed all the prisoners from jail. Immediately we fled. We left our home and everything behind,” said Masooma. “Travelling by car out of the city, I wore a burka, so no one would recognize me. Fortunately, we made it past all the Taliban checkpoints,” she added. Shortly after she left, Masooma received word from her neighbors that several members of the Taliban were at her old doorstep. She also said that she remembered who the men were after her neighbors described them to her. Before the Taliban’s second rule, Masooma sent a member of the group to jail for 20 years under the charge of murdering his wife.
Once truth seekers- now hiding from sight
The past 20 years saw a total of 270 women have been Judges in Afghanistan. They were recognized as public figures as the most prominent and powerful women of Afghanistan.”I can still see the image of that young woman in my mind. It was a brutal crime. After the case was over, the criminal approached me and said: ‘When I get out of prison, I will do to you what I did to my wife,” she said. “At the time I didn’t take him seriously. But since the Taliban took power, he has called me many times and said he has taken all of my information from the court offices. He told me: ‘I will find you and have my revenge,” she added with fear.
Most of these female Afghan judges are now in hiding and constantly on the run. In response to this, “Female judges should live like any other family without fear. No-one should threaten them. Our special military units are obliged to investigate such complaints and act if there is a violation,” said Bilal Karimi, the Taliban spokesperson’s secretary. In the case of drug traffickers, mafia members, we intend to destroy them. Our action against them will be serious,” he added.