SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes presented Wednesday the “Warrior Award” to an Afghan activist who risked her own life to fight for human rights.

Crystal Bayat, 26, an immigrant now living in Utah, was an outspoken advocate for women’s and children’s rights in Afghanistan. Bayat protested on the streets of Kabul during the Taliban takeover in 2021.

“I want to use this opportunity to raise my voice for the voiceless, who cannot raise their voice under the brutal regime of the Taliban,” Bayat said during Wednesday’s ceremony at the Utah State Capitol.

She thanked Utah leaders who are still thinking about liberating Afghanistan and seeking to keep the topic alive.

Bayat said she thought she was seeing “the end of Afghanistan” when she left for good, but the support she had received from Utahns made her realize that was only the beginning of her fight.

According to Reyes, the Warrior Award recognizes Bayat’s heroism in standing against the intimidation of the Taliban, her relentless pursuit of liberty for all women and children in Afghanistan and her work to provide books for libraries and prevent human trafficking.

In the press conference, Reyes said he first knew about Bayat when his friend sent him videos of her rallying groups of Aghans and protesting against the Taliban takeover. Once Reyes got wind that Bayat’s name was on top of the Taliban’s execution list, he gathered help from his associates to get her out of Afghanistan.

“It was not easy,” Reyes said in response to the rescue. “We were able to get Crystal and some of her friends and family out of Afghanistan. But she left her parents there, many siblings, a lot of dear friends, her business, her education, her career — everything was abruptly ripped away.”

Reyes described the long process of getting Crystal to Utah and the mountains of paperwork that needed to be filled out to get her settled. However, once that’s all done, Bayat said she has since come to enjoy her new home in Utah.

“She’s a fighter,” Reyes said. “She’s a warrior. And we are all so proud to be able to work with her and call her our sister.”