Kimberley Motley, The Lawyer Who Fights Against Outrages / 14ymedio
14ymedio, Havana, 17December 2016 — The US lawyer arrested Friday in
Havana could become a nightmare for the Cuban government. Kimberley
Motley traveled to Cuba to advise on the case of the artist Danilo
Maldonado, known as El Sexto (The Sixth), and was arrested and held for
some hours, prompting a wave of international condemnation.
Motley has worked in environments such as Afghanistan where she traveled
in 2008 as part of a legal aid program. During her nine-month stay in
the country she understood "how laws that were meant to protect people
were being underused, while brutal and illegal measures were being
The American lawyer became the first foreigner to litigate in the Afghan
courts, an experience that helped her realize that "the lack of justice
is not only a problem in Afghanistan, but a global problem."
During the more than ten years she has practiced law, Motley has
represented people ranging from high-ranking executives of prestigious
companies, to Afghan girls with few resources. The premise of her work
is "to work the system from within," and to use "the laws in the way
they are meant to be used."
Born in 1976 in Milwaukee, United States, Motley won the Miss Wisconsin
beauty pageant in 2004 and is the mother of three children.
The lawyer believes that many injustices are committed because people do
not know "what their rights are," laws are "supplanted or ignored by
tribal customs" or there are no "lawyers who are willing to fight for
These premises brought her to Havana this December to advise on the case
of the graffiti artist El Sexto, detained since November 26 after
painting a graffiti about the death of Fidel Castro with two simple
words: "Se fue" (He's gone).
Motley's arrest this Friday adds to the risks that she has experienced
in her career. "I have been temporarily detained. I have been accused of
running a brothel, accused of being a spy," she says in a Ted Talk that
has gone viral on the internet.
The lawyer points out that for all the risks she runs, her clients run
"much greater risks, because they have much more to lose if their cases
are not heard."
This Saturday the attorney was released but the echoes of her arrest are
just beginning. A figure with great media and public impact, Motley
calls "to create a world economy of human rights and that we all become
global investors in human rights."
Source: Kimberley Motley, The Lawyer Who Fights Against Outrages /
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