Debevoise Secures Scholarship at Texas Law Schools for Afghan Judge Facing Retribution

17 June 2022

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, acting pro bono, has secured a one-year visiting research scholar position for “Judge H.”, an Afghan judge who fled Taliban rule last year, at South Texas College of Law Houston and Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth. Judge H. arrived with her family in Dallas-Fort Worth on June 3 from Afghanistan and is remaining anonymous publicly to protect members of her extended family still in Afghanistan.

Judge H. had served as a judge on Afghanistan’s Counter-Narcotics Justice Center Court and as a judge on a specialized court within the Afghanistan Supreme Court, focusing on foreign and domestic terrorism. In these roles, she sentenced many Taliban members and affiliates to prison.

Judge H. is passionate about the rule of law, women’s rights and women’s education and had intended to dedicate her entire career to public service. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, however, she and her family were forced to flee the country because her career made her a target for retribution. The Taliban made several threats against judges on the Counter-Narcotics Court, and have been targeting women in positions of power ever since.

After Judge H. left Afghanistan, Debevoise lawyers worked with administrators at the South Texas College of Law Houston and Texas A&M Law to bring her and her family to the U.S. on student visas. In her new position, Judge H. will contribute to scholarship and discussions at both schools on topics ranging from the geopolitical situation in Afghanistan, to international law, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics law.

The Debevoise team is led by associate Lisa Wang Lachowicz and includes associate Isabelle Glimcher, with supervision by Jennifer Cowan.