JK Rowling has magically unlocked hundreds of thousands of pounds to save more than a hundred female lawyers and their families from assassination in Afghanistan.
The Harry Potter author made his huge donation when Britain and America quickly withdrew from Kabul, leaving hundreds of female judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers under threat from the Taliban.
With $1 million from businessman and philanthropist Lord Michael Hintze, along with large sums from other personalities and smaller donations from the public, this meant a total of 508 Afghans could be airlifted into safe place.
In a deadly swashbuckling operation, female lawyers and their families had to hide in basements before being smuggled into airports and flown to freedom.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling made his huge donation when Britain and America quickly withdrew from Kabul, leaving hundreds of female judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers under threat from the Taliban.
Pictured: Women and children are forced to squat and wait outside the Taliban-controlled checkpoint near the gate to the Abbey, before heading towards the security-controlled entrance the British Army from Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, August 25, 2021
The generosity of Miss Rowling, author of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban among other titles, in the 2021 rescue only emerged during a debate in the House of Lords on Thursday.
Lord David Alton told the chamber how the writer and Lord Hintze ‘in a Schindler’s List moment’ showed up to help when veteran human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy needed help money to save female lawyers – mainly judges – and their families.
Lord Alton said that, thanks to “spontaneous, generous and very substantial” private funding; “Some 500 people were evacuated – 103 were female lawyers, all of whom, along with their children and husbands, were on Taliban death lists.
‘I have met some of the female judges and know that the intervention of the noble Lord and that of author JK Rowling have undoubtedly saved many lives.’
Baroness Kennedy told the Daily Mail last night that she had become close to lawyers in Afghanistan after helping introduce female judges into the country’s justice system when the Taliban were overthrown by America, Britain and their allies in 2001.
But when US President Joe Biden withdrew his forces from the beleaguered country in August 2021, and Britain followed suit, these female lawyers were at risk of being murdered.
Baroness Kennedy (pictured) told the Daily Mail last night that she had become close to lawyers in Afghanistan after helping introduce female judges into the country’s justice system when the Taliban were overthrown by America, Great Britain Britain and their allies in 2001.
Pictured: Malnourished mothers and babies wait to receive help and an examination at a clinic run by the World Food Program in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 26, 2023
Baroness Kennedy, director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, said: ‘Exactly two years ago two female justices of the Supreme Court in Kabul were murdered – it really terrified all female judges.
“Then in August of that year, during the military evacuation from Afghanistan, I started getting desperate phone calls from female judges hiding in their basements.
“The Taliban had been released from prison and were threatening and attacking these women, some of whom had imprisoned them for domestic violence and other crimes.
“It was clear that these women were high on the list of those at risk of being killed, but only a handful of them boarded military planes.”
Baroness Kennedy quickly discovered that chartering a plane out of Afghanistan would cost £650,000 per trip.
The 508 people she was eventually able to help filled three flights, but also needed shelter and clandestine transport to airports. They then had to be housed in Athens – chosen because its president had been a female judge – while they sought asylum around the world.
This meant a total of £4m was needed.
The generosity of Miss Rowling, author of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban among other titles, in the 2021 rescue only emerged during a debate in the House of Lords on Thursday
Lord Hintze, an Australian-born former Goldman Sachs hedge fund tycoon now based in Britain, has racked up £800,000 after Baroness Kennedy told him it was ‘a Schindler’s List moment’.
And Miss Rowling, fabulously wealthy thanks to the success of her books and resulting films about the boy wizard Harry Potter, quickly answered the desperate cries of female judges in Afghanistan.
Baroness Kennedy said: “JK Rowling just said ‘I want to help these women’.
“She gave me hundreds of thousands of pounds, a very large sum, to pay for hostel accommodation and people’s living expenses.”
Baroness Kennedy said of the 508 people rescued, around 60 were now living in Britain.
Miss Rowling, 57, has come under attack in recent years for raising concerns that women’s rights are under threat from trans rights.
In poverty-stricken Afghanistan, the Taliban have grown increasingly tough since 2021, banning women from working for aid agencies and banning girls from secondary school and university.