Letter to Afghan Ambassador for endangered lawyers
On 24th of January 2023, on the occasion of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, Human Rights Solidarity protested the deteriorating situation of the rule of law and independence of the judicial profession in front of the Afghanistan Embassy in London and delivered a letter to Ambassador Dr Zalmai Rassoul, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom. The letter underlined the unacceptability of the deterioration of the rule of law and independence of the judiciary after the Taliban takeover in general, and of the constraints on the ability of Afghan women to access the justice system in particular.
Undersigned by Merve Aslangoren, the serving chairperson of the Human Rights Solidarity, the letter called for immediate halt to restrictions imposed on women lawyers’ work. Before the Taliban takeover, the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) had over 5,500 members, one third of which were women. After the takeover, together with the universities and all other public offices, women are barred from the legal profession. But the real danger to women lawyers comes from the criminals who have been released from jails by the Taliban, as a significant part of these criminals were put behind bars by women judges and prosecutors and are now in a hunt for revenge.
Referring to the joint statement of the Special Rapporteurs Margaret Satterthwaite, on the independence of judges and lawyers, and Richard Bennett, on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, the letter underlined the challenges the Afghan lawyers are facing and called both the Afghan government and the international community to action. ” By suspending the 2004 Constitution, ousting all judges from the bench, and stripping the Attorney General’s office of its key role, the Taliban has precipitated the collapse of the rule of law and judicial independence in Afghanistan”, according to the statement and since the Taliban takeover a minimum of 16 lawyers were killed by unknown individuals in Kabul and other provinces.