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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  October 1, 2019 4:30am-5:01am BST

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thanks this is bbc thanks news. the headlines: china is celebrating 70 years since the communist party came to power with a military parade in tiananmen square in the centre of beijing.president xi has been addressing the crowds and new military hardware has been put on display. president trump is under growing pressure as the impeachment inquiry puts 2 of his key aides under the spotlight. his personal lawyer rudy giuliani has been ordered to hand over to congressional committees all documents relating to his work foertrump in ukraine. british government sources have told the bbc prime minister boris johnson is expected to make the legal text of an updated brexit deal public in the next few days. but it is said to include the possibility of creating customs posts in so—called clearance zones some distance from the border between northern ireland and the republic.
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now on bbc news, it's hardtalk with stephen sackur. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. it's tempting to ask what almost two decades of american intervention in afghanistan have achieved. even now, the death toll in the afghan conflict far outstrips the losses in syria and yemen. but the grim statistics tell only a part of afghanistan's story. also important is the testimony of my guest today, kimberley motley, an american lawyer who went to kabul in a training capacity and stayed to become a respected litigator, fighting for the rights of the abused and powerless, especially women. does her experience give grounds for hope or despair?
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kimberley motley, welcome to hardtalk. thanks for having me. i want to take you back a little bit. i'm just wondering whatever prompted you as a young lawyer in the united states to sign up for this us government programme to go to afghanistan. it seems quite a remarkable decision to take as a young woman? it definitely was. i went to afghanistan in 2008, basically to train and mentor afghan defence attorneys. prior to going there i was a defence attorney in the us and it really was a financial decision. i have three kids, and going there, i would be making more than triple my salary.
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so i went there. it was my first time leaving the us. it should be said you were in milwaukee, now there's nothing wrong with milwaukee, but it's in the midwest of the united states, it's a city which perhaps isn't the most cosmopolitan in america. ijust wonder how much you knew about afghanistan? you know, i didn't know much other than what most people know from what they seen the news about it being a war—torn country. i didn't know anything. and frankly, i probably would have struggled to find it on the map. you since written a remarkable book about your overall afghan experience. but when you reflect on this early period, you say "one of the biggest mistakes that america made when we came to afghanistan, and it was evident in my programme, was to employ a ‘this is the right way mindset‘ that everyone on the ground was expected to blindly follow." it doesn't sound like you were very impressed with the thinking behind what america was going to do in afghanistan. i wasn't with impressed
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with our programme, it was a very top—down approach. so what was in the programme, it wasn't about how the afghan legal system is, it's about sort of what the americans read the afghan laws to be. there wasn't a lot of substantive training or analytical training. it was more ‘artical so—and—so of the constitution‘ says this. and so i felt like within the training programme i was involved in, afghan lawyers weren‘t learning to become better attorneys, they were certainly just in this programme. i‘m wondering whether over time if you began to feel this was not just symptomatic of your programme but more generally the us attitude towards afghanistan. you seem to be saying there was a lack of local knowledge, a lack of context, a lack of nuance, a lack of sort of sophistication in the effort to modernise, restructure and reform afghanistan. i always looked at my role being there was to support the afghan legal system, to support the afghan programmes. but i think a lot of people
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that went over there, especially from america, went there with the intention of a them versus us sort of mentality. that, you know, their legal system should be like x. so, you know, i think that was a problem because the cultural context is really important if you want people to be successful within their legal systems. i wonder if language is important. i mean, you‘ve already, sort of without saying it explicitly, you‘ve indicated to me you had no knowledge of dari or pashto language when you got to afghanistan. ijust wonder how much real day—to—day contact, empathetic contact you had with the afghans you were supposed to be training? well, for me personally, everyone that was in our training programme spoke english so i had a lot of direct contact with afghans, that were frankly rare compared to the demographics of the country, they were dual—language. they were unusual. right? compared to the whole country. and they were more educated than the normal afghan would have been at that point in time, they were college graduates that we were working alongside.
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but they were very good teachers, at least to me, in terms of teaching me what the afghan legal system was like, teaching me about the things like the laws and things like that. so, you know, it was — and i did express my concern with frankly our embassy, my embassy, and i did express my concern with the managers when i felt my training was not effective at all. and you‘ve described how you really felt over time that you are out of sympathy with many of the americans on your programme, including some of the people who were your bosses. but you‘ve told them at some point, and this to me seems very important, you said i‘m going to try and see what it is like actually inside and afghan court, rather than doing this all sort of based on paperwork and abstract theory. i want to get inside the system. and they didn‘t really like that, did they? no, they didn‘t. and frankly, me going to the courts to observe, or me wanting to go to the prisons to talk to people and understand their experience within the legal system, to me it seemed like something that everyone that was being sent there should do.
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and it wasn‘tjust the americans that were there "capacity building" the legal system. they had attorneys — they had you know, people programmes from the uk, from france, from all over the world, of experts that were sent there to capacity build within the programme. now, i think generally speaking, the people within the programme were generally well—intentioned, but theyjust didn‘t know how to make that connection with the legal system in afghanistan without completely understanding that it is a different courtroom. so when you get inside a court, i mean, you twist a few arms and you persuade one judge to let you into his court and there you go, i‘m guessing it was quite a novelty for you to get inside the courtroom after all of this dry as dust training that you‘d been trying to do. what impression did you get of the judicial system when you saw it first up close and personally? well, number one, the money that is being funded to afghanistan with the justice system, it‘s not being spent in the way that is the most effective to help build the capacity
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within the justice system. the first case i saw was of a man shackled from his hands and his feet, and they brought him in with a bag over his head, and this is in the national security court where reportedly they bring terrorists through. long story short, the prosecutor stood up, he read the indictment and he basically said that this guy was being accused of being a terrorist because he was running a taxi. and in the taxi they found three people, and they found guns and weapons in the car. so based on that, they charged this guy with being a terrorist, and that was all the evidence they had. there had no witnesses, no attorney, he was not allowed to present evidence, so it was completely ridiculous he was even charged with this. so there was — in effect there was no trial? no defence attorney and no witnesses. exactly. there was in effect, no trial at all? there was a trial, but it was a travesty.
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there was a trial. this was the national security court trumpeted by the americans that the afghans were serious about confronting terrorism. funded by the uk and us governments, so, both governments. one of the situations where it was funded by our governments and well—intentioned, but they are bringing a lot of innocent people through, in my opinion, tojustify the money being spent. was that a moment when you saw this unfold, and of course as a lawyer, with very basic principles of your own, was this a point where you said ‘i need to not just be a trainer here, i need to be an involved player. i need to play a role inside courts in afghanistan if my presence here is to mean anything‘. i think going into that court started my wheels turning, it wasn‘t at that moment where i said i need to take cases, because i was still new to the game. i think when it really designated with me was when i went to the prisons and i talked to hundreds of people that were locked up that were basically saying the same thing that this man was saying, that they were tortured, they didn‘t have an attorney when they went to court, no witnesses, no evidence, they didn‘t even understand, a lot of people didn‘t even realise they had a right to an attorney or what attorney was,
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because that was a relatively new concept. so it was very shocking for me. and also seeing a lot of women that were locked up with their children for moral crimes. you know, for adultery and running away, which also was frankly illegal. i saw a lot of that, and then that is when i thought i probably need to get involved. i met a lot of foreigners that were locked up, english—speaking foreigners locked up who didn‘t have an attorney, that were english speakers, they didn‘t know how long they would be there, they didn‘t even know what their charges were. and so then i sort of felt compelled to get involved. what‘s fascinating is you made this extraordinary leap, you began to see the fundamental flaws and the problems in the system.
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you claearly felt you‘d like to do something about this. but here you are, a young american woman, not speaking a word of the local languages, how did you go about convincing, frankly, everybody in the system from the judges to the defendants that you wanted to work with to your us bosses, who presumably had some sort of a say in what you did next. how did you convince everybody that you should take cases, that you should become a litigator in the afghan courts? yeah, i mean, it wasn‘t easy. well, the first thing i did was i quit myjob with the us state department justice—funded programme, because it wasn‘t — this was something i was doing independently on my own. right. so i quit that and i sort ofjust went to the afghan bar association, i went to the ministry ofjustice, i went to the supreme court, and i asked for their permission to allow for me to represent people. i had clients or people in prison that wanted me to represent them. and so from these conversations with the different heads of these
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legal institutions, they all very gratefully gave me their permission, and that‘s what allowed for me to represent people in the courts. and you ended up representing over the years, some extraordinary clients. cases that are difficult to read about, let alone deal with on a face—to—face basis. let‘s just talk about a couple. let‘s start perhaps with a teen that you dealt with, a young woman called gulnaz, who was raped by her own cousin‘s husband. right. and after that she became pregnant. she went to a doctor, obviously highly distressed. the doctor then reported her and took her to the police. right, right. then she was the one who face criminal charges, very serious charges. right. she ended up being sentenced to 12 years, i think it was defined under afghan law as ‘adultery by force‘? right. it actually wasn‘t a legal crime. it wasn‘t a crime that was codified in the afghan law. well, it may not have been a crime codified, but it certainly led to a sentence of 12 years. right. she and her family then,
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i guess, reached out to you. but i was wondering with a case like that, what you felt you could offer? ifelt i could offer legal representation. weren‘t there any afghans that could offer legal representation and, quite frankly within that culture, with that language that might have been more effective than you could? well, i‘ll say this. she did have an afghan lawyer, and this was frankly routine, that the afghan lawyers would often if there was a rape victim, try to broker a deal with the rape victim and marry the perpetrator. and so that‘s what her attorney was trying to focus on. whereas i was trying to focus on the law. the fact that she should not have been charged, or, and frankly convicted of adultery by force. and so i argued the semantics of the case and i argued the law. the afghan law. and that‘s what i do there.
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i don‘t come in from this morality perch and judge, i use the law with my clients. that‘s interesting. you have to have an extremely detailed knowledge of afghan law, you would have had to have dug deep into it yourself? absolutely. that is part of myjob. that‘s the job of a litigator, to represent their clients and argue the law as it relates best in the interests of your client. you‘ve said in the book and you say repeatedly i didn‘t see myself so much as a human rights lawyer, i saw as myself very much as an inside the courtroom litigator. you were just taking a grandstand overview of human rights in afghanistan, you were doing it on a case—by—case basis with an intimate knowledge of that particular afghan law that was relevant. right. exactly. i mean, to me, that is more effective. i definitely respect human rights lawyers, but frankly, i don‘t think petitioning, marching was going to help gulnaz. what needed to happen is ‘we need to legally argue this in court‘. one of the things that they failed to bring, is according to islamic
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law, you need to bring four eyewitnesses to accuse someone of adultery. well, there weren‘t four eyewitnesses, and so that‘s what i argued. the semantics of it. who were the four eyewitnesses had said she had committed aldultery? and also the fact that she was forced. that she was sexually forced. she was raped, she should never have been charged with adultery in the first place. ijust wonder, as we began this interview, you in the early days of your involvement in afghanistan, you talked about your doubts about the american mentality of sort of imposing a model on afghanistan and just assuming it would work without local knowledge. was there not a danger of you in the courtroom doing that too? because you were so clearly an outsider. i may be wrong, you also made a point of not covering your hair because you regarded that as sort of misogynistic, symbolic thing that you didn‘t need to do and wouldn‘t do. well, not quite. i didn‘t not cover my head because i felt like i was protesting. it‘s not obligatory. it‘s not legally required for me to cover my head, it‘s not something i have ever done and i just wasn‘t comfortable doing it.
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right. what about the wider point? maybe you are bringing some sort of cultural attitudes from outside and imposing them on the inside, just as you‘d accused your federal employers of doing earlier in your afghan career. i think how i dress or choose to dress, that is not me imposing my views on people. leave that aside. in your mindset, you are a bright, smart young lawyer coming from the united states, you are now in a sense telling the judge, telling the court what is right and wrong in a very confident way and as you say, you were arguing the law. was there any sense in which you sometimes wondered whether you had the right to be doing this? i mean, i will be honest. in the beginning, i was sort of nervous how it would be taken with me representing afghan women getting into the moral crimes cases.
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in the beginning, i was representing exclusively foreigners locked up in afghanistan and afghans started coming to me, asking me to represent them so one of the things i was wrestling with is, are they ready for me to represent in court. one of the things is, it‘s the islamic republic of afghanistan. in order to be an effective litigator, you need to be comfortable with understanding the holy koran and quoting from the holy koran and using it to represent your clients and so i wasn‘t sure how that would be received with me doing that but at the end of the day, ifelt like, i‘m a lawyer, i had people who needed a lawyer and i knew that if i wanted to be effective in afghanistan, i either practised law in the way it‘s supposed to be practised in afghanistan orjust not do it so i definitely brought in some of my cultural... it‘s undeniable.
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you dealt with extraordinary cases. other cases which involved rape, that involved forced marriage, torture, terrible domestic violence cases. frankly, you won a lot of cases. you caused a real stir inside afghanistan but you also upset an awful lot of people, individuals, families. and you did get threatened. you had one extraordinary incident where a grenade which thankfully did not go off was put into your apartment. did you suffer in terms of stress and fear, feeling intimidated? definitely. there are times when i‘m fearful and stress, i‘m used to stress. frankly everyone in afghanistan has a certain amount of fear and stress. it‘s not like i‘m special because i am also stressed as well, it‘s part of the job. it is reasonable that people, everyone
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wouldn‘t be super happy with me representing people in afghanistan. it‘s reasonable i would have been threatened and things like that, these are reasonable things i knew would come. so i knew from the beginning that i needed to decide whether or not i was frankly going to get into the boxing ring or not. you have a choice. afghans live with stress every single day but most of them simply don‘t have a choice. we all live with stress every day. there is stress, and stress. you were in the serena hotel in 2014 when a group of gunmen entered, nine people ended up dead, they were going up and down the corridors, you barricaded yourself in a room. that‘s a level of stress you wouldn‘t have had if you stayed in milwaukee. there are issues in milwaukee. there are issues in milwaukee, ok. i mean, my husband was shot in milwaukee. before we finish, we can get back to your
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perspective on the us, having spent so much time in afghanistan. some of your cases were extraordinarily high—profile, you fought for the powerless, particularly for young women who have suffered so much abuse in afghan society. do you believe looking back on the last decade, you‘ve made a difference? ata minimum, i‘ve made a difference with my clients and that was my primary goal. i wanted to make a longer—standing difference with more people but i set realistic expectations for myself. when i started representing people, for me, even though i did want good judgements, the judgements that protected women, to positively affect other women as well, my main goal was, represent this client, this lady, get her out of prison so definitely, i have made a difference. i hope i did.
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i am mindful that donald trump in recent weeks has been pushing the idea of a peace deal with the taliban, there was that remarkable, it never quite happened, but remarkable idea of having a summit with taliban representatives at camp david. donald trump wants to pull out the remaining us forces, 11,000, however many, say america is finished with afghanistan, the taliban will be drawn back, integrated into the system of governance. how do you as a lawyer on the front line in kabul feel that would work for afghanistan? i‘m concerned about the peace talks and frankly part of me understands why he pulled out because the taliban doesn‘t deserve a trip to the white house if they keep bombing things and the taliban really needs to agree to adhering to women rights in a substantive way. one thing that has been happening in the peace talks is they vaguely have said, we are going to support women‘s rights as long as it is sort of consistent with islamic values.
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they say they will do it in the context of sharia, they will not take young girls out of school but they will have both sharia law and respect for women in afghanistan. but that doesn‘t mean anything, it‘s like saying nothing because it is the islamic republic of afghanistan so of course, people that aren‘t in the taliban follow women‘s rights as it‘s related to islamic law. the first three articles within the constitution of afghanistan talk about how afghanistan is an islamic country and it‘s a country that does not onlyjust respect people that are of the muslim faith but also people of other faiths as well so i think the taliban in those five horrible years when they ran afghanistan, they were very specific about what women couldn‘t do. women couldn‘t go to school or get healthcare go outside without a man. so in my opinion, they need to be specific about what women‘s rights
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they are going to adhere to. someone needs to hold them to the fire and say, are you going to follow, for instance, the elimination of violence against women act which is a law that protects women, that is consistent with islamic values. stop saying these vague things and they know what they are doing, they are being vague on purpose. i would take you back to the united states, you referenced the fact that your husband got shot in the face in milwaukee while you were in afghanistan. when one looks at the us judicial system today, one sees as far as many are concerned a systemic discrimination against african—americans inside the system, whether it‘s killings by police, incarceration rates, the numbers of black people on death row. you can look at it in many ways. why with all of your passion and commitment as a lawyer are you not determined to go back to the us and use your skills back home rather than in afghanistan? this is the thing, i still practice in the us. 50% of my work is in afghanistan but the other 50% involves me
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practising in the us as well as other countries. for me, a woman in afghanistan that is raped and charged with adultery, that situation is not just confined to the country of afghanistan. that is a problem that is virtually on every single country where women are raped and there is little to know consequences. they may have different names for it but it is an issue so i feel like what really is at stake and what sort of my thing is, is to educate people about the law through my cases. i do that in afghanistan, i do that in the us and i agree with you, that is one thing that is happening, and lawyers need to step up to the plate in afghanistan, in the us and in every single country and fight for their clients because democracy is really being attacked and our due process rights are being attacked.
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we have to fight for it. the fight continues. kimberly motley, i thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you for having me. thank you very much. hello again. the average height of a uk two—story building is around seven metres high. imagine then, just if you can for a moment, waves that are three times that height, at around 22 metres high. that‘s the kind of size of waves we‘re looking at generated by this hurricane, hurricane lorenzo,
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with its 105 mph sustained winds. now, lorenzo is tracking in a north—easterly direction, and those 22—metre—high waves are what we could see battering the western azores as we go through tuesday night, as that hurricane passes very close by. after that, it turns into a normal area of low pressure, and will end up probably close to the british isles, but there‘s still some uncertainty exactly where it ends up. our main focus here in the uk, however, is on the continuing flooding threat across england and wales, after the recent very heavy rain that we have seen, and the extra rain we‘ve got that will fall through the rest of the day today. we‘ve got rain with us already for northern england and northern ireland. heavy showers packing in across wales and south—west england. something a bit drier in scotland, but‘s also a bit colder, and there are still a few showers around as well. it‘s just that they‘re not as angry. now, through the rest of tuesday, what will happen is these heavy showers and thunderstorms across wales and south—west england that we‘ll have to start off the day,
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they‘ll tend to push eastward with time across the midlands into east anglia and south—east england. these showers, well, they could bring around 30—110 mm of rain injust the space of a few hours. so, given that the ground is completely saturated, that rain could cause some localised surface water flooding problems and some quite nasty conditions out on the roads. apart from those heavy downpours, though, it is relatively mild in the south, with temperatures up to 19 degrees. but notice the green colours for northern england, northern ireland and scotland, as the air continues to get colder. yes, there‘ll be some sun, and a few showers for northern scotland. now, overnight, the rain clears away from england and wales, so it will become drier. showers will feed in across northern scotland. but for many of us, it‘s going to be really quite a cold night. heading into the early part of wednesday morning, those temperatures will be well down into single figures, and indeed, in some places in the countryside, there‘ll be a few pockets of frost. now, heading into wednesday, we‘ve got northerly winds. that‘ll be pushing the colder air right the way southwards, reaching southern parts of england and wales. but at least it‘s going to be a dry
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day, and that will allow some of those floodwaters to slowly ebb away. not entirely dry, though. there will be some showers for northern scotland, and one or two sneaking down to affect the eastern coast of england — the north sea coast, really. a cooler—feeling day, temperatures in london at around 1a degrees. that‘s your latest weather.
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this is the briefing, i‘m ben bland. our top story: this is the scene live in beijing where china‘s armed forces are taking part in a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of communist rule in the country. i‘m mariko oi in hong kong. many shops and stations are being shut down as large—scale pro—democracy demonstrations are expected to get under way very soon. the british government says it has drawn up an updated brexit deal and is getting ready to put it to the eu. president trump‘s personal lawyer is ordered to handover documents on ukraine as part of the impeachment inquiry. from financial minnow to economic powerhouse in 70 years, but how did they do
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it, and what‘s next?


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