A former judge in Afghanistan, whose application to come to the UK was rejected, says she hasn’t left the house for six months amid fears for her safety.
Speaking to The Independent from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, Qadisa* said she only ventures into the garden at night due to fears her neighbours will see her.
The 46-year-old, who presided over cases involving violence against women, said she was terrified the Taliban will kill her if they find her. She wanted to come to the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy scheme but had her application turned down.
It comes as The Independent revealed how some Afghans seeking to come to the UK were told they had to have their documents approved by Afghan government departments, run by the Taliban since the militant group swept to power in August 2021.
Qadisa, who was forced into hiding after the fall of Kabul, said: “I haven’t left the house in six months. I can’t go outside in the garden during the day because I don’t want the neighbours to see. I go out in the garden at night. I don’t get any daylight.
“I am feeling trapped. When I am walking around at night, I am scared of my shadow. I cry every day. Sometimes I look at my files and law books and my uniform and I cry.”
She said that around five months ago, her brother told her the Taliban had come and “directly” asked their neighbours where she was. “I’m hiding from colleagues. I can’t trust anyone,” she said.
The former judge said her “hands were shaking” after she found out her application to come to the UK was refused at the end of January.
“I could not accept the UK, a peaceful country with top human rights, could reject my application. I was crying. Still, I am crying. I was in shock,” she said.
An email from the Ministry of Defence, seen by The Independent, says Qadisa is not deemed to be eligible for relocation under the scheme. She believed she was eligible because of her role as a judge working alongside British government officials and is considering appealing the decision.
The Independent revealed back in September 2021 that more than 200 women judges were in hiding in Afghanistan, fearing they would be killed by the Taliban because of their work.
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