BOOKS

Lawless

Kimberley Motley

RRP: £17.99

5 September 2019

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760633172

RRP: £9.99

5 September 2019

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760633967

In the summer of 2008 Kimberley Motley quit her job as a public defender in Milwaukee to join a US government sponsored ‘capacity building’ programme that helped train attorneys in war-torn Afghanistan. She was thirty-two at the time, a former Mrs Wisconsin and mother of three who had never travelled outside the United States. Her decision, made primarily for financial reasons, marked the beginning of an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-style journey that saw Motley descend into a rabbit hole of US bureaucracy, systemic indifference, casual racism and hypocrisy, matched equally by deeply entrenched Afghan cultural oppression and corruption.

After landing in Kabul in September 2008, admittedly lonely and terrified, Motley embarked on a path that swiftly morphed into a personal mission – to bring ‘justness’ to the defenceless and voiceless, first in Afghanistan and now around the globe. In the space of two years, through sheer force of personality, ingenuity and perseverance, Motley had established herself as an expert on Afghanistan’s fledgling criminal justice system, steeped in that country’s complex laws but equally adept at wielding Sharia law and arcane aspects of the Holy Quran in defence of her clients. This unconventional approach has not only helped her to overturn sentences for Afghans who have been subject to miscarriages of justice but also British, Australian and South African nationals who have become entangled in the injustices of the Afghan legal system.