Posts Tagged robert langdon

Legal News: Robert Langdon Is Pardoned!

When I heard the news about Robert Langdon being pardoned and released, I was floored. I originally wrote about Robert back when he was imprisoned, and I was trying to get some attention on his case. I mean this guy was sentenced to death at one point, and it is truly remarkable that not only has he survived that system but has been pardoned and released. What a horrible ordeal and I am just glad that he is home with his family.

I also wanted to highlight the outstanding work that Kimberley Motley and Stephen Kenny (the family lawyer) have put into this case. Kimberley is actually licensed to practice law in Afghanistan and has been fighting that pathetic legal system for quite awhile to free contractors that have been wrongly imprisoned. (Bill Shaw and Philip Young are two such examples) I have written about her good work in the past and I think one day, we will see a movie made about her. Truly a legal rock star.

As to Robert Langdon’s story, probably what jumped out at me was the hardships and survival strategies he had to employ as a prisoner at Pul-e-Charkhi prison. Here is a quote from one of the stories below.

In prison, Mr Langdon was under constant threat of violence and was regularly attacked. During his final months in jail, he used a padlock to lock himself in a stinking cell. He had a smuggled mobile phone and a knife he had fashioned from a piece of steel.

I don’t know if he had SERE training in the military, but it sounds like if he had, it would have been very helpful in surviving this prison. Especially being the only expat and especially when some of his cellmates were Al Qaeda and Taliban. Amazing that he survived. –Matt

 

Robert Langdon Free

Lawyer Kimberly Motley signs release papers for Robert Langdon, who spent more than seven years in Kabul’s maximum-security prison. Picture: Jessica Donati, The Wall Street Journal

 

Robert Langdon: Last Western prisoner held in Afghanistan pardoned, flown home to Australia
By Michael Edwards
9 Aug 2016
A former Australian soldier has been released from an Afghan jail after serving seven years for murder.
Robert Langdon initially received a death sentence in 2009 but always maintained his innocence, claiming he killed in self-defence.
His family, after spending years campaigning for his freedom, received the news this week that a presidential pardon had been granted and he was on his way home.
“He certainly has been released and the family, of course, are very very pleased about that,” family lawyer Stephen Kenny said.
Mr Langdon was initially convicted for shooting Afghan colleague Karimullah, when a dispute arose while they were escorting a convoy to an American military base in mid-2009.
He was found guilty of killing the man, and then trying to blame the murder on a Taliban ambush.
The Australian was also accused of setting fire to the dead man’s body and trying to flee the country.
Mr Langdon was sentenced to death but later had his sentence reduced to a 20-year jail term after his family reportedly paid the family of the dead man a substantial sum of money in compensation.

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Legal News: GardaWorld’s Daniel Ménard Thrown In Afghan Jail

This is an interesting one that just popped up on my radar. I found it yesterday and posted it on Facebook, and I received multiple viewpoints on what is going on. Everything from it is all GardaWorld’s fault and Ménard is incompetent, to Gardaworld and Ménard is yet another victim of the Afghan legal system and corrupt officials.

For this deal, I was instantly reminded by the readership, as well as personally recalling all of Afghanistan’s past legal shenanigans.  Doug mentioned the Bill Shaw story where he was thrown in an Afghan jail on false bribery charges. Trevor mentioned the other GardaWorld story of some contractors that got arrested because they had 30 AK’s on them. Funny that, contractors with guns in a war zone? Of course this story was related to the APPF scheme of seizing the weapons of companies–without paying those companies for said weapons.

Another story mentioned was the arrest of Michael Hearn of Global Strategies Group for not registering their weapons. Those weapons according to the company, were parts guns that were not serviceable, used to repair other AKs.  I am sure there are other incidents that I am forgetting, but you get the idea. Kimberly Motley could probably add something to this conversation because of her extensive dealings with the Afghan legal system.

Some other stories of contractors wrongly thrown in Afghan jails include guys like Phillip Young, who thanks to Kimberly’s work, was set free. Another guy I have written about in the past was Robert Langdon, whom is still rotting away in prison.

The other interesting point on this story is Ménard’s  background. Michael Yon was highly critical of this leader back when he was a general in the Canadian Arm Forces posted in Afghanistan.  But even Michael’s current tone is one of being skeptical as to why he is in an Afghan jail.

I imagine the way this will work out is that he will stay in prison until the company or his family pays the fine. Hopefully he doesn’t stay in prison as long as Bill Shaw. Bill spent two years at Pul-e-Charkhi prison and was fined £16,185! Kimberly was also hot on this case and was instrumental in getting him released. –Matt

Edit: 02/19/2014- Daniel was released from detention. Story here.

 

 

 

Former Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard, the former head of Canadian forces in Afghanistan who now works for private security firm GardaWorld, was detained there since about Jan. 12.
By Allan Woods
Jan 29 2014
Former Canadian brigadier-general Daniel Ménard, who was fined and demoted for having a sexual relationship with a female subordinate, has been sitting in an Afghan jail for nearly three weeks, the Toronto Star has learned.
The former head of Canadian forces in the country, who now works for private security firm GardaWorld, was detained on or about Jan. 12. He was picked up by local authorities after leaving a meeting with Afghan government officials to discuss issues related to the development of Afghan security forces, Joe Gavaghan, a spokesman for the company, said in an interview Wednesday.
“He was leaving a meeting at the ministry office and a couple of officials approached him. They said, ‘We’ve got a problem with something and we’d like you to come with us to clear it up.’ Off he went and the next thing he knew he was going to be detained until they cleared it up.”
Ménard has not been charged with breaking any laws, Gavaghan said, adding the incident is based on an “administrative misunderstanding” related to its licence to operate in Afghanistan as a private security firm.
Gavaghan said the former commander of the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based out of CFB Valcartier, appeared in a Kabul court Wednesday.
“This involves some kind of administrative issue with our operating licence. It was kind of a technicality. It’s been cleared up and we believe that the individual is going to be released very shortly,” Gavaghan said.
“Right now we’re just trying to do everything we can to make sure there’s no further complications or anything that would delay that.”

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Pakistan: Raymond Davis Has Been Released!

 

This is great news.  Either the US paid the ‘diyat’ directly or indirectly to the families of the dead, but either way blood money was paid and Raymond was released!

It reminds me of the cases currently in Afghanistan.  I wonder how much a compensation payment would have to be in order to get Robert Langdon and others released? In Raymond’s case, it sounds like a total amount of $ 2.3 million was paid out to all three of the families.

Now the thing to watch in Pakistan is the public reaction.  Uprisings have been going on throughout the world, and the government in Pakistan is probably bracing itself for the negative reaction from the population after this release. Hell, they were already fired up after Davis killed the two men out of self defense. I have no doubt that elements of the Taliban and AQ are right in there stirring up the masses into a lather.  It doesn’t take much to get the mob all riled up in Pakistan.

That brings up another point I wanted to make.  The media in Pakistan, and specifically the new media is a joke. It is so hard to tell who is politically motivated, who has an agenda, or who is really focused on just getting the truth out. Most of the times I just laugh when reading the stuff, because it’s as if the author of the story found his material in a comic book. Or worse yet, you can blatantly tell when it is some irhabist dork trying to spin the story.  Matter of fact, I am sure they are just dreaming up new and fantastical ways of spinning the Davis deal as we speak.

Finally, our relations with Pakistan pisses me off.  The US has dumped billions of dollars into that country in this war. Not to mention all the support and money given during their flooding crisis last year, and other disaster in past years. And what really gets me going is that AQ and the Taliban enjoy a nice little safe haven along the border, and yet we continue to depend on Pakistan’s ability to do the job of destroying them. They have not done this, and it’s as if the money we have been giving Pakistan is passed on to the Taliban and AQ to build resorts and health spas for their guys up in those hills. Pffft.

And look how much hassle it took to get Davis back? Are we not in the same fight? What really gets me is how would you like to be a soldier in the Pakistani army that lost friends in the war, and yet they see their government playing games like this? Politics… –Matt

U.S. did not pay compensation in Raymond Davis case

March 16, 2011

The U.S. government did not pay any compensation to the families of two Pakistanis killed by Raymond Davis, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.

“The United States did not pay any compensation,” Clinton told reporters in Cairo. Asked who paid the families, she replied: “You will have to ask the families.”

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Legal News: Robert Langdon Escapes Death Sentence After Paying Afghan Family

     Thanks to Elena for forwarding me this news about Robert.  This article describes briefly what the ‘ibra’ is, and it is an interesting concept.

     As for Robert, the only thing I have to add is that I hope he survives imprisonment for the next 20 years in Pol-e-Charki prison. –Matt

Australian escapes death sentence after paying Afghan family

Ex-soldier has sentence commuted to 20 years in jail after paying relatives of murdered guard $100,000

By Jon Boone

Wednesday 5 January 2011

An Australian private security guard who murdered an Afghan worker has escaped the death sentence by paying the family of his victim $100,000 (£65,000), court documents reveal.

The former Australian soldier was handed the death sentence last January after a Kabul court found him guilty of shooting an Afghan colleague before making a crude attempt to make the crime look like a Taliban attack.

But it emerged this week that Robert William Langdon persuaded two supreme court judges that he should be allowed to live after the family of the dead man, who was known as Karimullah, accepted a large compensation payment raised by Langdon’s relatives in Australia.

However, the payment, known in sharia law as ibra, was not enough to commute the whole sentence, so Langdon will face 20 years in Kabul’s notorious Pol-e-Charki prison, home to Taliban and al-Qaida inmates as well as criminals. The jail term is thought to be the longest given to a westerner in Afghanistan since the toppling of the Taliban regime in 2001.

At the time of the killing in May 2009, Langdon was working for Four Horsemen International, a private firm which works with the US military and specialises in protecting military supply convoys.

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Legal News: A Beauty Queen Takes Kabul

“I get threats of being raped,” she says. “If I was a man, I’d get more death threats, I suppose. But I get those as well.”

Her criticism of what she describes as a corrupt judicial system has brought the ire of the Afghan government, and heightened her security risk. The Afghan District Attorney’s office has threatened to arrest her next time she sets foot in Kabul.

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Shaw, now recuperating with his family in Spain, credits his release “to Kimberly and her dogged determination to succeed.”

Motley has developed her own approach to operating in the Afghan courts. During a trial, she never wears a veil or a dress. “I need to look like a man as much as possible,” says the 35-year-old beauty, who has a South Korean mother and an American father.  “I find that men hear me more when I don’t wear a headscarf. I wore it at first, and when I took it off, I found men were more respectful.”

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    This is awesome and I want to thank Kimberly personally for all the courageous work she has done in Kabul.  She is on the front lines of trying to free all those unfortunate souls that have become victims of a corrupt legal system in Afghanistan. Folks like Bill Shaw were released thanks to the work of Kimberly. It looks like she is also working on the Robert Langdon and Philip Young cases.

    Kimberly also wins big points for doing what she is doing in a war zone and Islamic society.  She has taken on this corrupt legal system with full vigor, and has received death threats along the way.  You know she is doing well when the government and the Taliban both despise her. lol For that, bravo to you Mrs. Motely!

     Also, I have yet to find her website, a link to her office in Kabul, or anything. So if anyone has that kind of information, I would like to edit this post to show that. –Matt

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Kimberly Motley–Motley works for the release of foreigners languishing in Afghan jails. (Photo courtesy of Kimberly Motley)

A Beauty Queen Takes Kabul

by Elise Jordan

September 17, 2010

Kimberly Motley is now one of the most respected lawyers in Kabul, who works to release foreigners languishing in Afghan jails. Elise Jordan meets the former Mrs. Wisconsin.

Kimberly Motley isn’t your typical international lawyer.

A former beauty queen, wife, and mother of three, she grew up in the projects, earned a law degree and worked as a public defender before moving to Afghanistan to become one of the most respected foreign lawyers in Kabul.

Motley works for the release of foreigners languishing in Afghan jails, and often her work starts after the verdict—as in the case of an Australian on death row, convicted of murdering an Afghan colleague; a South African sentenced to fifteen years in prison on drug charges, and a Brit convicted of fraud.

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Afghanistan: Update On Robert Langdon, By Elena Fon

     Elena has been kind enough to give us all an update on the condition of Robert Langdon, and it doesn’t sound good.  Bill Shaw made a comment on how horrible the prisons are in Afghanistan, and I certainly do not doubt that Robert is suffering there. And with the great news about Bill Shaw’s release, and the dismal report he gave about the prisons there, Robert Langdon (and Phil Young for that matter) should be the next focus.

     So what needs to be done?  Well for one, it takes pressure on the Australian government and their folks in Afghanistan, for them to influence the Afghans with the hopes of getting Rob back to Australia. You can sign the petition below and you can get the word out. You can also join the Robert Langdon FB page and pass this stuff on to any media types and your friends.  The more publicity for this case, the better. Also, you can write your consulate in Afghanistan, and hopefully they can apply some pressure on the Australians to do more. –Matt

Facebook for Robert Langdon here.

Edit: July 11, 2010- Here is an update from Elena.  Check it out:

Hi again Matt,

Would you please add the following to your latest post on Rob( and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter)?

First of all want to thank those people who have signed the petition and have spread the word.

However, there are still only 324 signatures on the petition and I am disappointed at the very few people who actually contacted me offering their help. I truly appreciate those who did so, but I was surprised that those who did respond  I can count on the fingers of one hand – what I did get was an overflow of Nigerian scammers offering to make me their heiress if only I supplied them with my bank account details. Not quite what I was hoping for.

Rob’s Legal Position at a Critical Stage.

 Rob is currently awaiting the final stage of the appeal process which will decide whether he is to hang or not.

Karim’s family have agreed on the amount of the ibra (compensation) payment to be paid and Rob’s family have raised the money. There will be a civil hearing

where this matter will be recorded. This will clear the way for Rob’s final appeal against his death sentence to the Afghan criminal division of the Supreme Court. This hearing will decide his fate; his sentence of death by hanging will either be upheld or commuted to a term of imprisonment.

If his death sentence is upheld there is no further avenue of appeal except a plea of clemency to President Hamid Karzai by the Australian government. There is every indication that the Australian government have decided Rob is expendable. Indeed they are doing their utmost to keep Rob’s case out of sight and deter those who want to save Rob and bring him home  I speak from personal experience of this.The Appeal hearing is slated to take place within the next 2-3 months. Now is the time to let the Australian government know what you think .  After the hearing, it may be too late; if it suits the current political agenda Rob could be executed shortly after sentencing.

So please everybody get writing. See above for details of the Australian Embassy in Kabul. But also it is so important to write to the Australian PM Julia Gillard, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia 2600.  With a copy to the Leader of the Opposition: Tony Abbott, address as above. It will only take a few minutes but it could help save Rob’s life.

Bad faith of the Australian government The Australian government is renowned for it’s uselessness in helping it’s citizens in trouble abroad. There is an old joke here that if you’re in trouble overseas, throw away your Aussie passport and say you’re a US citizen. A few recent examples of the general policy of inaction of the Australian government.

Nigel Brennan was an Australian aid worker kidnapped in Somalia along  with a Canadian woman. The Brennan family were told by the Dept of Foreign Affairs and

Trade  to do nothing on their own behalf to help their son. Seven months later DFAT coolly informed them there was nothing they could do; case closed.  The Brennans then hired a Canadian hostage expert who had to start from scratch as the Australian authorities refused to fill him in.  Finally, after eight more months of negotiations, Nigel Brennan was released and came home to his family.

There are currently 3 young Australian drug mules on death row in Bali (part of the Bali 9). Now I hold no brief for drug-smugglers but the news report that our

former PM Kevin Rudd had asked his Indonesian counterpart if he would kindly delay   their executions in an election year took my breath away for it’s sheer cynicism.

Britt Lapthorne was a young Aussie backpacker on holiday in Croatia in 2008 when she disappeared, to be found later in the sea reduced to a headless, limbless torso. The Australian govt put it about she had probably committed suicide and forbade her family to do anything off their own bat ( sound familiar?)  but to leave it all up to them as they didn’t want to damage trade relations with Croatia.  Witnesses came forward ….. and were ignored and by the time the Lapthorne family decided to take matters into their own hands, it was too late, a cover-up had taken place. To this day nobody has  been tried for Britt Lapthorne’s murder.

So what chance Robert Langdon?

As the organiser of the campaign to Save Rob Langdon I urge you to contact me if you want to help, know rRob, have any news of him or have any suggestions what to do.

I am on Facebook and you can email me: fon_elenaisabel.com.au

Again a big thank you to those who have shown their support so far.  I need lots more of you.

Elena

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Robert Langdon

Where’s the support for Rob Langdon that he so badly needs ?

By Elena Fon

The great news is that Bill Shaw has been released from his ordeal at Pol e Charki and his innocence vindicated.

His release was due in no small part to the huge efforts of Lisa and Liz, his daughter and wife, in their very active and public  campaign for his release. Thousands of people signed the on-line petition and wrote to their MP and the British PM David Cameron to protest at the blatant miscarriage of justice Bill was subjected to.  No clearer proof exists of people- power. The British government could not afford to ignore the collective opinion so forcefully expressed. Without the efforts of Liz, Lisa and everyone who joined them Bill Shaw might still be in an Afghan prison

 So why aren’t people flocking to help Rob Langdon in his time of need?  If it’s left up to the Australian government he will likely be executed according to the wrongful sentence handed down by the corrupt Afghan courts. Rob needs more than good wishes, he needs help right now. Help from his mates, from strangers, from anybody who doesn’t want to see a man wrongfully hanged.

I have very recently received a report that Rob ” is in a very bad way” and that for some unknowable reason he refuses to join the other European prisoners in the relative safety of the  high security wing in Pol e Charki prison in Kabul. And that he recently refused an invitation sent by the other European prisoners, including South African  psc Philip Young),see feraljundi 19 June2010, to join them, the only people who can offer Rob some support and solidarity. Instead Rob apparently prefers to remain in a cramped crowded cell with 22 other men, Afghans and drug-smugglers,  with no English conversation at all.

 In fact I’m wondering if Rob does receive any visits, food, mail? Is he even aware that people wish him well and want to help him? Does anybody have any hard facts here?

Rob, needs your help and sooner rather than later.

For full details of Rob’s case I refer you to my article in the June issue of the Overwatch Report here.

There is also a petition you can sign here.

But come on, guys, you can do more than just a signature. Help me to organise a Bill Shaw type campaign, and bring Rob home to Australia to serve his sentence.

Contact Elena:  fon_elenaisabel@yahoo.com.au

Australian Embassy in Afghanistan here.

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