Hundreds of female Afghan judges have been forced into hiding as members of the Taliban and other convicted criminals seek revenge for being sent away to prison. “I have received more than 20 threatening phone calls from former inmates who have now been released,” one woman, identified only as Judge Sanaa, told the BBC. With many of her cases involving ISIS and Taliban fighters, she said she is now hiding out with more than a dozen relatives. Drilling home the severity of the threat, a male relative was reportedly attacked by Taliban fighters who showed up at the judge’s home looking for her.
Another imperiled judge, who said she had convicted hundreds of men over the years, some for rape and murder, told the BBC she was hit with a barrage of death threats after the Taliban took over her city. “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,” Judge Masooma was quoted saying. “Sometimes I think: What is our crime? Being educated? Trying to help women and punish criminals?” In addition to six female judges who spoke to the BBC from secret locations, more than 200 others are also said to be in hiding and desperately looking for an escape.