Do You Have a Lawyer?

Early in their trial, four of the Shelter Now aid workers were startled by the Afghan legal system.

The chief justice began by asking us if we had a lawyer. We were all aghast.
"They didn't even tell us there was going to be a trial, and now they want to know if we have a lawyer?" I whispered to Heather.
"How are we supposed to get a lawyer when we barely have contact with anyone on the outside?" Diana fired off.
Georg complained to the same effect. "We were never allowed to talk with anybody from the outside about anything, just about how we are doing and what our health is."
"Now you are informed," replied the unflappable chief justice.

Surprise Visitor

On November 15, someone pounded loudly on the prison door. Mercer and Curry thought their Taliban captors were coming to kill them.

A scruffy, beardless man in ragtag clothing burst through the entrance. Rounds of ammunition were wrapped around his chest. In one hand he carried a rifle; in the other, what looked like a rocket launcher. His eyes were wide open; his hair was wild and coated in dust. He was panting and looked astonished to see us, a group of foreigners, there in the room at the Ghazni prison.
"Hello," he blurted out in English. That was the only English word he knew. Farsi came next.
"Aaazaad! Aaazaad!" You're free! You're free! "Taliban raft." The Taliban have left.


Shortly after their release, the women prepared to leave the Kabul area with the help of an Afghan businessman named Qasim.

Qasim brought a van around to the front of the building and we got in. There were curtains on the windows. "Close the curtains," Qasim insisted. "We do not want anyone to see you."
The curtains did us no good. A mob of more than a hundred people surrounded ...
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