ITJP

Campaign “Prosecutors for Prosecutors” Launched to Rescue and Relocate 1,500 Afghan Prosecutors Facing Grave Threats

Yama Rayeen, Co-founder & Chairperson at ITJP, addresses the media during the Prosecutors for Prosecutors Campaign launch in Salt Lake City, July 27, 2023.
Salt Lake City, Utah – In a collaborative effort, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys APA-US and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, along with the Afghan Prosecutors Association APA-AF, the International Association of Prosecutors, the International Organization for Transitional Justice and Peace, “No One Left Behind” organization, the Afghan Evac Coalition, and several other esteemed organizations to launch a critical campaign aimed at rescuing and relocating 1,500 Afghan prosecutors and their families. These courageous individuals are currently confronting dire threats in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.
 
The campaign, named “Prosecutors for Prosecutors,” was officially announced during a press conference held at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office building on June 27, 2023. The primary objective of this initiative is to raise $15 million, with the ultimate goal of saving the lives of Afghan prosecutors and ensuring their secure relocation to countries where they can continue their vital work in safety.
 
The situation for Afghan prosecutors has become increasingly perilous, as highlighted by Yama Rayeen, co-founder and chairperson of the International Organization for Transitional Justice and Peace. Mr. Rayeen revealed that the Taliban’s actions have resulted in the torture and killing of “26 prosecutors or their relatives.” The Taliban’s grip on power and their release of criminals from prisons further exacerbate the danger faced by these brave individuals, who have dedicated themselves to upholding justice and principles of transparency and democracy championed by the United States.
Yama Rayeen, a former prosecutor, joins Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and members of the Major County Prosecutors Council and hold a moment of silence on Thursday, honoring prosecutors tragically lost to the Taliban. – Spenser Heaps, Desert News
Expressing the urgency of the situation, Sim Gill, Salt Lake County District Attorney, emphasized, “Our Afghan colleagues and their families are being hunted and killed due to their unwavering commitment to creating a safer, more just society. It is incumbent upon us, as partners in the pursuit of justice, to stand by them and ensure their safety.” Jackson County, Missouri Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker echoed this sentiment, stating, “These prosecutors dedicated their lives to implementing a system based on American democracy and it is costing them dearly. Now is not the time to turn our backs against our partners. Our office, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and prosecutors from around the US are committed to getting our Afghan colleagues and their families to safety.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill launches the Prosecutors for Prosecutors Campaign at the District Attorney's Office, Salt Lake City, July 27, 2023.
Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Prosecutor, addresses the media during the Prosecutors for Prosecutors Campaign announcement at the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, Salt Lake City, July 27, 2023.
Before the fall of Kabul in August 2021, approximately 6,000 Afghan staff members of the Afghanistan Attorney General Office were actively involved in vital rule of law programs, prosecuting criminal cases involving high-profile members of the Taliban. However, in the aftermath, these brave prosecutors find themselves in hiding, unemployed, and facing grave hardships.
 
Despite their crucial role in upholding justice and fighting against crime and terrorism, Afghan prosecutors do not qualify for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to the United States, and the processing time for other immigration programs like P1 and P2 may take 2 to 3 years. Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, the organizers of “Prosecutors for Prosecutors” are now focused on relocating these prosecutors to countries that continue to offer refuge to Afghan nationals.
 
The “Prosecutors for Prosecutors” campaign urges individuals, corporations, and organizations to join in a collective effort to raise the necessary $15 million. These funds will be utilized by national and international organizations to rescue and support the Afghan prosecutors and their families, providing them with a lifeline amidst the perilous circumstances they face.
 
This campaign represents a significant opportunity for the global community to stand together in solidarity and protect those who have risked everything to champion justice and the rule of law. By supporting “Prosecutors for Prosecutors,” individuals and organizations can play a crucial role in safeguarding the lives and future of these brave prosecutors and their families.

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The ITJP aims to combat core international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in war-torn countries, with a current focus on Afghanistan. Through education, advocacy, research, and evidence-gathering, we strive for justice and build a future of sustainable peace.

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