ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County Attorney’s Office joins effort to rescue prosecutors stuck in Afghanistan

Mar 21, 2024, 7:02 AM

Afghan prosecutors need help escaping the country, MCAO says...

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, right, invited Afghan prosecutor Najia Mahmodi, left, to speak during a Wednesday press conference. (MCAO screenshot/via Facebook)

(MCAO screenshot/via Facebook)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is participating in a program that helps Afghan prosecutors escape to safety.

“This is a group of people who were left behind in their own country after they partnered with the United States,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said during a press conference Wednesday.

The people in need of help prosecuted members of the Taliban before the U.S. ended its involvement in the war in Afghanistan, she added.

Although some made it out alive when the Taliban took control of the country in 2021, around 1,500 prosecutors are still stranded.

Many live in hiding and others have been killed already, Mitchell added.

How does Rachel Mitchell want to help Afghan prosecutors?

“I have been working with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the APA, on a project called Prosecutors for Prosecutors,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s office raised $3,255 for this cause in the last quarter of 2023, according to an announcement.

The goal of the Prosecutors for Prosecutors campaign is to raise $15 million to get all Afghan prosecutors and their families relocated to safety.

Campaign leaders say they’ll coordinate relocation efforts in steps. Their first step is to try to raise $180,000 to get 18 prosecutors out of Afghanistan and into safe countries like Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and the U.S. Donors have given $56,276.70 to the effort so far, according to the Prosecutors for Prosecutors website.

Every dollar donated to the project goes to non-government organizations that will facilitate the prosecutors’ safe relocations, according to the campaign’s website.

Guest speaker says female prosecutors are in danger

Mitchell invited a guest speaker to the Wednesday press conference: Najia Mahmodi, who formerly worked for the Attorney General’s Office in Afghanistan as the chief of litigation for violence against women.

Mahmodi said she regularly communicates with female prosecutors still stranded in Afghanistan.

“I am receiving hundreds of messages from the women prosecutors who have been left behind asking for help,” she said. “Some of these women prosecuted Taliban members who were sent to prison for domestic violence and those members are now free.”

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Maricopa County Attorney’s Office joins effort to rescue prosecutors stuck in Afghanistan