LONDON: A female Afghan judge has appealed against a ruling by the British government refusing her entry to the UK.
The judge, known only as Yosra, is hiding unlawfully in Pakistan, where her family fears for her health.
Her appeal, lodged on her behalf by lawyers in the UK, is the first of potentially dozens of cases brought by Afghans denied entry to the country by the Home Office.
Yosra, 42, was a judge in Afghanistan for two decades and presided over cases that involved Taliban members.
During her career, she received multiple death threats from the group, and her house was targeted.
She fled her homeland with her son after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in August last year, fearing for her life.
Yosra, who has a sister in the UK and whose nephew works as a civil servant there, was told she was eligible for resettlement in the UK under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy.
Ten months after applying, though, she was rejected, with the Home Office stating in a letter: “There is no provision for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge.
“Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach — that is the fastest route to safety.”
Her family have now raised concerns for the state of her mental health, fearing that she could attempt suicide faced with the prospect of returning to Afghanistan.
Oliver Oldman, a solicitor at the law firm representing Yosra, told The Times: “The commitments made to those at risk in Afghanistan (are) seemingly already forgotten.”
The Home Office said the UK “is taking a leading role in the international response to supporting at-risk Afghan citizens and has made one of the largest commitments to resettlement of any country.
“This includes welcoming over 21,000 Afghan women, children and other at-risk groups with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK and we are working as fast as possible to house everyone.”
Last week, the Court of Appeal for England and Wales told government officials to reconsider the cases of two other Afghan judges denied entry to the UK.
There are thought to be around 150 other female Afghan judges seeking refuge abroad, with 70 still living in the country.