86 Years for Aafia Siddiqui

23 September 2010

On the afternoon of 23rd September 2010 Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years on five charges by Judge Berman in a Manhattan courtroom.

The Justice for Aafia Coalition released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the harsh sentence passed on Dr Aafia Siddiqui by Judge Richard Berman today. At such a difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Aafia’s family, who have been separated from her since March 2003.

It has now been over seven and a half years since Dr Siddiqui was abducted with her three young children by Pakistani and American agencies. She has since been separated from her children and family, detained in a series of secret prisons and physically and psychologically abused by her captors. Following a blatantly prejudiced and unfair trial in which little conclusive evidence of her guilt was presented, she was found guilty.

We hoped that Judge Berman would have opened his eyes to the manifest injustice that has been committed against Dr Siddiqui and repatriated her to her country. But it seems that Judge Berman was adamant in his position despite the enormous level of public support for Aafia. Last week, Iran, in a goodwill gesture, released Sarah Shourd, an American woman accused of espionage, a crime against the state punishable by death. We are disappointed that the United States has been unable to exercise a similar degree of mercy and leniency in the case of another innocent woman who stands accused of crimes against its government.

While we are disappointed by Judge Berman’s decision, we condemn in the strongest terms the stance of the Pakistani government towards this beloved daughter of the nation. While we must never look to the wolf for protection, we expect the shepherd to care for his flock. The Pakistani government has from the outset been complicit in Aafia’s disappearance and detention, and has displayed nothing but contempt for its people and dignity through its cowardly stance in requesting her repatriation. They are a stain upon the honourable reputation of the country.

JFAC will continue the struggle for justice for Dr Aafia to try and secure her freedom and unite her with her family and loved ones. We remind Aafia’s supporters that this struggle may seem tiresome but as Imam Ahmad advised his student, we will only find rest when our feet set foot in paradise.”

Notes for editor:
1. The Justice for Aafia Coalition is an umbrella body for a number of organizations, groups, and activists created in February 2010 to campaign for the release and return of Aafia Siddiqui and for the opening of a full investigation into the circumstances of her detention.

2. Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyers maintain that she was abducted by the Pakistani and US agents along with her three children in 2003 and rendered to Afghanistan where she was detained by American forces for over five years. Siddiqui claims she was abused and tortured throughout her detention. She was convicted in February 2010 of allegedly firing on US soldiers while in custody in what appears to have been a grave miscarriage of justice. Her son Ahmed was released in September 2008 from Afghan custody, and her daughter Maryam was eventually recovered in April 2010. For full details of the case, please visit www.justiceforaafia.org

3. For media enquiries contact info@justiceforaafia.org

2 thoughts on “86 Years for Aafia Siddiqui

  1. My Dear Readers:
    How a “Nice American woman” Became a Jihadist: Dr. Siddiqui Found Guilty
    She studied at MIT and at Brandeis where she received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Thus, she was both an educated and in some sense, a westernized woman. Both her Pakistani-born father and Pakistani husband are physicians who trained in the West, in England and America, respectively; her brother and sister are also highly trained professionals. Nevertheless, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui learned to hate America, hate Jews, and hate Israel right here in liberal America.
    Aafia Siddiqui
    Like a small but increasing number of “westernized” Muslim women, Aafia Siddiqui joined her local mosque (in her case, the Roxbury, MA, mosque) and started to veil, and as she did, her ambitions became aggressively jihadic. This is not a contradiction. Obediently veiled Muslim women can be very aggressive, murderously so. They certainly police other women in savage and self-righteous ways in Iran and Indonesia. In Iraq, veiled Muslim women have blown up other Muslim female religious pilgrims. And, Muslim women who were normatively spurned by their mothers were manipulated by Samira Jassim, an attentive, “loving” Iraqi mother-figure, who carefully turned them into suicide killers.
    Samira Jassim
    Women are very aggressive—but usually towards other women. I have written about this in Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman. Traditionally, women do not go up against men whom they view as their potential protectors and as more powerful than they are. Ironically, Islamic jihad wishes to reverse, upend, both Nature and human evolutionary history. Just as normatively degraded mothers are “turned” into hero-mothers who publicly praise their suicide killer sons—just so, are normatively self-hating women “turned” into Al-Qaeda heroines who not only directly attack men, but who directly attack infidel male soldiers.
    Although Al-Qaeda officially wants its women to breed and bear future male jihadists and to keep the homes and secrets of Al-Qaeda warriors, they have now publicly called for women suicide killers. The West has been threatened with a horde of veiled suicide killers, both male and female.
    Today, the Islamic Veil is not a religious symbol—read Marnia Lazreg on this. The Veil is a politically manipulated symbol of jihad. The French understand this and are trying to ban or limit the Islamic Veil, which they view as a security risk as well as a human rights violation. The Americans had better start this conversation now, not later.
    Dr. Siddiqui tried to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan after “she’d been captured with instructions on making explosives and a list of New York landmarks in her possession, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.”
    After jurors found her guilty in United States District Court, Siddiqui turned and faced them, held her index finger aloft and said: “This is a verdict coming from Israel and not from America. That’s where the anger belongs.”
    Siddiqui’s lawyers claim that she did not try to shoot anyone, that she was trying to escape, and that secret imprisonment by the Americans had led her to lose her mind and accounted for her continual outbursts in the courtroom.
    Some people, including her lawyers, insist that she is “mentally ill.” People are saying the same thing about Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter. He has been said to suffer from a non-existent condition: “pre-post traumatic stress syndrome.”
    Siddiqui had continually demanded that no Jews be allowed to take part in her trial. She wanted the jurors to be genetically tested to prove they were not Jewish. I dunno. She sounds like a follower of Adolf Hitler to me. What difference does it make if we conclude that Hitler and his good German followers were “mentally ill”? Even if they were, the harm they did, through both acts of omission and commission, were radically evil and criminal. Caliphate dreams are no different than Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich.
    As soon as Major Hasan was conscious, he invoked his rights to a lawyer. The last words out of Siddiqui’s mouth were: “This verdict is coming from Israel.”
    Either we judge jihadists by their own cultural standards (ironically, this is the politically correct position), or we diminish those cultural standards and judge them by our concept of “mental illness” which, in criminal cases, is often used to obtain sympathy for the devil.
    Note: In a long article about Dr. Siddiqui, a former MIT student described her as “nice;” Imam Abdullah Faruuq, of the Roxbury Mosque, said “She was an American girl and a good sister.”

    Preface of Story:

    We are writing below the story of American National Lady who has been arrested from Afghanistan by US Officials on charges of terrorisms etc, and awarded a sentence of 86 years by honorable US Court.

    We very humbly request Pakistanis; please do not create any panic which might to move your peaceful moment towards bloodshed as conspiracy made against you by your enemies to break your faith and lesson of peace and harmony in accordance with Islam; so before making any comments please thinking over:
    First of all we must tell you the truth:
    a) Mrs. Aafia is an Pakistani American National
    b) Her Son Ahmed / Ali Hassan and daughter Miriam all are American citizen
    c) She has conducted several activities in USA for a long time, she never worked for Pakistan in any manner, she worked for herself in an local university at Karachi, and she went to Afghanistan by her on wish without any permission or permit taking from government of Pakistan.
    d) Government of Pakistan never supported her activities by any means
    e) She never had any support of any political party for fighting against USA
    f) Why she was fighting against USA and who asked her to do so? From where she has been funded, what is the actual source of her income, have you ever thought before making procession for her?
    g) Do you know that she has married twice and
    h) Her uncle in law of her second husband gave her details to USA, why you do not avoid to blame any of your own government, what is the proof that any Bureaucrat or government body was involved in her arrest or why Pakistan government was unable to stop her activities?
    i) If Government of Pakistan was aware of her activities, who was behind her to deprive Pakistan government to not take any action against her?
    j) What was she doing on July 18, at Ghazni
    k) Why on July 18, two FBI agents, a U.S. Army warrant officer, a U.S. Army captain, and their U.S. military interpreters arrived in Ghazni to interview Siddiqui at the Afghan National Police facility where she was being held.
    l) Where She opened the fire on the US Personnel as claimed
    m) Why she had been dictating Pakistan government to this or do not do that, when Pakistan government asked USA to help to stop terrorists activities in Pakistan
    In other wards I want to ask you the following Question:
    1) If an American Lady attack your government and try to kill your Army officer what you have to do?
    2) If any American Lady shout {Death to (Naouzu-billah) Pakistan} what should be your reaction?
    3) If any American Lady fire herself to blame Pakistan what will be your opinion?
    4) If anyone works against Pakistan what will be your reaction, you will welcome her or ask the government to hang-up?
    5) If Americans make processions or take out demonstration for her release; could it be justified by your court, keeping in view of demonstration they release a criminal?
    6) Does Islam allow it? IF she is lady {Muslim or Non-Muslim}, she is free to do whatever she wants to do?
    7) Does our religion allow any kind of outdoor activities for a woman or through Quran instruct and order the woman to be at home and does not allow moving outside without prior permission?
    8) Islam does not allow interfering in the matter of justice by creating and taking part in processions etc..? 100% No, while she is not absolute Pakistani, She born in Zambia, grown up there and lived there 8 years and came to Pakistan and left Pakistan when she was only 18 years of age, and went to USA on student Visa, had been taking US$1200/month as scholarship from USA government, she ever worked for USA and after marring with Al-Qaeda Leader she came to Pakistan and joined a local university and after taking the shelter of university, she moved to Afghanistan where she had been arrested by Afghan Police and later by FBI and US Forces and world media declared her as first Al-Qaeda woman arrested as No. 650, please thinking over before supporting her, if she is an innocent, we all are with innocent peoples.

    Then why upon sentence of 86 years for Mrs. Aafia Siddiqui; we are interfering in the matter which is being heard by an Honorable court; can we press a judge, to decide and write the decision according to our will or because her sister and family is active for her release so court must release her..
    Why and how her sister become a famous figure in media, from where she bear and afford the huge processions, who is behind these activities?, are they telling us a true story, why all communities has taking part in demonstration, what is behind these processions?
    We must ask you, why she is so important when she has been declared a criminal, for what reasons and motives:
    1) Why she was in Afghanistan?
    2) Why she went to USA for higher studies?
    3) who afforded her hording and boarding expenses
    4) Why she created an upset scene in Pakistan, while she was so brave?
    5) Why innocent peoples, students and peoples of all communities are being asked to participate for her release while she has been charged as criminal,
    6) Does Government of Pakistan has asked her to work for Pakistan and go to Afghanistan or she made a moment against USA as her own?
    7) Why she has never been a part and parcel of our government in any scenario?
    8) What is the proof that she loves Pakistan?
    9) When and why she went to Afghanistan?
    10) Why family first refused to identify their child and later accepted the child as their own?
    11) What is the actual story behind this sentence and arrest?
    12) Why we are not being up dated with actual news and views?
    13) Why media telecast the program in her favor and do not entertain the neutral commentators.
    14) We must ask the Pakistan government does they have any evidence that she has not committed any crime for which she has been sentence for 86 years, if yes why government of Pakistan is keeping it secret and do not show to public, if she is innocent?
    15) If government of Pakistan claims that she is innocent then what is their reply why she was arrested from Afghanistan with weapon as per charge report?
    16) If they claim it’s not true, she has been arrested from Pakistan then from where and why?
    17) And who allowed the American to come and arrest this innocent lady…
    18) A)if her sister is right, then what is the evidence of her innocence she has?
    19) It is the most interesting that the sister of Afia is working very strange and It is also very anomalous how she is meeting all high ups of government of Pakistan
    20) Even she is able to meet Prime Minister of Pakistan any time and it become news;
    21) How she contact with PM or President or any High Military officials?
    22) From where she brings contacts and how she becomes so prominent in few month of time?
    23) Who direct the government officials to meet her?
    24) And who is pressurizing our government to talk with her even after every hour?
    25) What is the actual game?
    26) How Prime Minister is available every time to meet her
    27) How CM’s of all Provinces do not mind to welcome her even their busy hours?
    28) Does her sister is creating any confusion and establishing any political party to get benefit for 86 years sentence to her sister?
    29) Who are behind her?
    30) From where she is bearing all expenses?
    31) How she is frequently traveling here and there?
    32) What are her interior motives?
    33) What is their source of income?
    34) Why not any politician has any difference with her opinion?
    35) Why all parties are taking interest and act according to her wish?
    36) Why not we think that if she is really an innocent lady then we must depute a lawyer for her release instead of taking processions and making demonstration and destroying our own properties.
    37) Why we do not ask her Please stop destructing Pakistan and stop try to take decision of justice on roads instead of honorable court.
    38) Why we are doing, what is the actual cause behind?
    39) Time will tell us and if someone is making us fool, then time will never avoid teaching us a worst lesson on it.
    40) We must stop unwanted wars,
    41) Demonstrations
    42) and processions,
    43) let Pakistan be stable,
    44) It’s already much injured by great Flood and millions of Pakistanis are still await for your help,
    45) Please come forward for millions,
    46) Avoid contempt of court activities, if you do not honor others decision, no one will honor yours decisions
    47) If she is on right path, so being a Muslim, you must believe that Allah help those who help themselves.
    48) Whilst if it is matter of Islam, why none of our Muslim country never comment on it.
    49) Be Human
    50) Become Good Muslim
    51) Keep your faith in Allah
    52) Never speak without having full knowledge and never support anyone without knowing the truth
    53) Allah Hafiz
    Proud to be a Pakistani
    Dr. Syed Hamid Hussain Naqvi Subzwari

    Story Details:

    Aafia Siddiqui (March 2, 1972) is an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted after a jury trial in a U.S. federal court of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. The charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison In September 2010, she was sentenced by the U.S. judge to 86 years in prison.
    A Muslim who had engaged in Islamic charity work and proselytizing in the U.S. Siddiqui moved back to Pakistan in 2002. She disappeared with her three young children in March 2003, shortly after the arrest of her second husband’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged chief planner of the September 11 attacks. It was reported that Khalid Mohammed mentioned Siddiqui’s name while he was being interrogated Siddiqui was added to the FBI Seeking Information – War on Terrorism list in 2003. In May 2004, the FBI named Siddiqui as one of its seven Most Wanted Terrorists. Her whereabouts remained unknown for more than five years. In July 2008, she was arrested in Afghanistan. The Afghan police said she was carrying in her purse handwritten notes and a computer thumb drive containing recipes for conventional bombs and weapons of mass destruction, instructions on how to make machines to shoot down U.S. drones, descriptions of New York City landmarks with references to a mass casualty attack, and two pounds of sodium cyanide in a glass jar.
    Siddiqui was shot and severely wounded at the police compound the following day when she grabbed the unattended rifle of one of her American interrogators and began shooting at them. She got medical attention for her wounds at Bagram Air Base and was flown to the U.S. to be charged in a New York City federal court with attempted murder, and armed assault on U.S. officers and employees. She denied the charges and said the interrogators had fired on her when she had attempted to flee. After receiving psychological evaluations and therapy, the judge declared her mentally fit to stand trial. Amnesty monitored the trial for fairness. Siddiqui interrupted the trial proceedings with vocal outbursts and was ejected from the courtroom several times. The jury convicted her of all the charges in February 2010. The prosecution argued for “terrorism enhancement” of the charges that would require a life term; Siddiqui’s lawyers requested a 12-year sentence, arguing that she was mentally ill. The charges against her stemmed solely from the shooting, and Siddiqui was not charged with, or prosecuted for, any terrorism-related offenses
    Many of Siddiqui’s supporters, including international human rights organizations, have claimed that Siddiqui was not an extremist and that she and her young children were illegally detained, interrogated and tortured by Pakistani intelligence or U.S. authorities or both during her five-year disappearance. The U.S. and Pakistan governments have denied all such claims.

    Early life
    Siddiqui is the youngest of three siblings. She attended school in Zambia until the age of eight, and finished her primary and secondary schooling in Karachi, Pakistan. Her father, Muhammad Salay Siddiqui, was a British-trained neurosurgeon, and her mother, Ismet (née Faroochi), is a now-retired Islamic teacher, social worker, and charity volunteer, who was prominent in political and religious circles, and who at one time was a member of Pakistan’s parliament. Her brother is an architect who lives in Sugarland, Texas; her sister, Fowzia, is a Harvard-trained neurologist who worked at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and taught at Johns Hopkins University before she returned to Pakistan.
    Undergraduate education
    Siddiqui moved to Houston, Texas, on a student visa in 1990 joining her brother. She attended the University of Houston for three semesters, and then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after being awarded a full scholarship. In 1992, as a sophomore, Siddiqui received a Carroll L. Wilson Award for her research proposal “Islamization in Pakistan and its Effects on Women As a junior, she received a $1,200 City Days fellowship through MIT’s program to help clean up Cambridge elementary school playgrounds While she initially had a triple major in biology, anthropology, and archeology at MIT, she graduated in 1995 with a B.S. in biology
    She was regarded as religious by her fellow MIT students, but not unusually so: a student who lived in the dorm at the time said, “She was just nice and soft-spoken, [and not] terribly assertive.”
    She joined the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and a fellow Pakistani recalls her recruiting for association meetings and distributing pamphlets Journalist Deborah Scroggins suggested that through the MSA’s contacts Siddiqui may have been drawn into the world of terrorism:
    At MIT, several of the MSA’s most active members had fallen under the spell of Abdullah Azam, a Muslim Brother who was Osama bin Laden’s mentor…. [Azam] had established the Al Kifah Refugee Center to function as its worldwide recruiting post, propaganda office, and fund-raising center for the mujahedeen fighting in Afghanistan… It would become the nucleus of the al-Qaeda organization.
    Siddiqui solicited money for the Al Kifah Refugee Center. In addition to being an al-Qaeda charitable front and al-Qaeda’s U.S operational headquarters, tied to bin Laden, it advocated armed violence, one of its members had just killed Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990, and it was tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing Through the MSA she met several committed Islamists, including Suheil Laher, its imam, who publicly advocated Islamization and jihad before 9/11. For a short time, Laher was also the head of the Islamic charity Care International, which reportedly collected funds for jihadist fighters.
    When Pakistan asked the U.S. for help in 1995 in combating religious extremism, Siddiqui circulated the announcement with a scornful note deriding Pakistan for “officially” joining “the typical gang of our contemporary Muslim governments”, closing her email with a quote from the Quran warning Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as friends. She wrote three guides for teaching Islam, expressing the hope in one: “that our humble effort continues … and more and more people come to the [religion] of Allah until America becomes a Muslim land.” She also took a 12-hour pistol training course at the Braintree Rifle and Pistol Club.
    Marriage, graduate school, and work

    Amjad Mohammed Khan,
    Siddiqui’s first husband
    In 1995 she had an arranged marriage to anesthesiologist Amjad Mohammed Khan from Karachi, just out of medical school, whom she had never seen. The marriage ceremony was conducted over a telephone. Khan then came to the U.S., and the couple lived first in Lexington, Massachusetts, and then in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Roxbury (in Boston), where he worked as an anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She gave birth to a son, Mohammad Ahmed/Ali Hassan in 1996, and to a daughter, Mariam Bint e Muhammad, in 1998; both are American citizens.
    Siddiqui studied cognitive neuroscience at Brandeis University. In early 1999 while she was a graduate student, she taught General Biology Lab, a course required for undergraduate biology majors, pre-med, and pre-dental students. She received her Ph.D. in 2001 after completing her dissertation on learning through imitation; “Separating the Components of Imitation”.
    Siddiqui’s dissertation adviser was a Brandeis psychology professor who recalled that she wore a head scarf and thanked Allah when an experiment was successful He said her research concerned how people learn, and did not believe it could be connected to anything that would be useful to Al-Qaeda. Siddiqui also co-authored a journal article on selective learning that was published in 2003.
    In 1999, while living in Boston, Siddiqui founded the Institute of Islamic Research and Teaching as a nonprofit organization. She served as the organization’s president, her husband was the treasurer, and her sister was the agent. She attended a mosque outside the city where she stored copies of the Quran and other Islamic literature for distribution. She also helped establish the Dawa Resource Center, a program that distributed Qurans and offered Islam-based advice to prison inmates.
    Divorce, al-Qaeda allegations, and re-marriage
    According to a dossier prepared by UN investigators for the 9/11 Commission in 2004, Siddiqui, using the alias Fahrem or Feriel Shahin, was one of six alleged al-Qaeda members who bought $19 million worth of blood diamonds in Monrovia, Liberia, immediately prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks. The diamonds were purchased because they were untraceable assets to be used for funding al-Qaeda operations. The identification of Siddiqui was made three years after the incident by one of the go-betweens in the Liberian deal. Alan White, former chief investigator of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Liberia, said she was the woman. Siddiqui’s lawyer maintained credit card receipts and other records showed that she was in Boston at the time.
    FBI agent Dennis Lormel, who investigated terrorism financing, said the agency ruled out a specific claim that she had evaluated diamond operations in Liberia, though she remained suspected of money laundering.
    In the summer of 2001, the couple moved to Malden, Massachusetts. According to Khan, after the September 11 attacks, Siddiqui insisted on leaving the U.S., saying that it was unsafe for them and their children to remain. He also said that she wanted him to move to Afghanistan, and work as a medic for the mujahedeen.
    In May 2002, the FBI questioned Siddiqui and her husband regarding their purchase over the internet of $10,000 worth of night vision equipment, body armor, and military manuals including The Anarchist’s Arsenal, Fugitive, Advanced Fugitive, and How to Make C-4. Khan claimed that these were for hunting and camping expeditions. On June 26, 2002, the couple and their children returned to Pakistan.
    In August 2002, Khan said Siddiqui was abusive and manipulative throughout their seven years of marriage; her violent personality and extremist views led him to suspect her of involvement in jihadi activities. Khan went to Siddiqui’s parents’ home, and announced his intention to divorce her and argued with her father. The latter died of a heart attack on August 15, 2002. In September 2002, Siddiqui gave birth to the last of their three children, Suleiman. The couple’s divorce was finalized on October 21, 2002.
    Siddiqui left for the U.S. on December 25, 2002, informing her ex-husband that she was looking for a job; she returned on January 2, 2003. Amjad later said he was suspicious of her explanation, as universities were on winter break. The FBI linked her to an alleged al-Qaeda operative, Majid Khan, who they suspected of having planned attacks on gas stations and underground fuel-storage tanks in the Baltimore/Washington area. They said that the real purpose of her trip was to open a post office box, to make it appear that Majid was still in the U.S. Siddiqui listed Majid Khan as a co-owner of the P.O. box The P.O. box key was later found in the possession of Uzair Paracha, who was convicted of providing material support to al-Qaeda, and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in 2006.
    In February 2003, she married accused al-Qaeda member Ammar al-Baluchi, also known as Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, in Karachi. Al Baluchi is a nephew of al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a cousin of Ramzi Yousef, convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Siddiqui’s marriage to al-Baluchi was denied by her family, but confirmed by Pakistani and U.S. intelligence, a defense psychologist, and by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s family. She had worked with al-Baluchi in opening a P.O. Box for Majid Khan, and says she married him in March or April 2003. Al-Baluchi was arrested on April 29, 2003, and taken to the Guantanamo Bay military prison; he faces the death penalty in his upcoming trial in the U.S., for aiding the 9/11 hijackers.
    In early 2003, while Siddiqui was working at Aga Khan University in Karachi, she emailed a former professor at Brandeis and expressed interest in working in the U.S., citing lack of options in Karachi for women of her academic background.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Siddiqui’s second husband’s uncle, who reportedly revealed her name during his interrogation.
    According to the media, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, alleged al-Qaeda chief planner of the September 11 attacks, was interrogated by the CIA after his arrest on March 1, 2003. Mohammed was allegedly tortured by water boarding 183 times, and his confessions triggered a series of related arrests shortly thereafter. The press reported Mohammed naming Siddiqui as an al-Qaeda operative. On March 25, 2003, the FBI issued a global “wanted for questioning” alert for Siddiqui and her ex-husband, Amjad Khan. Siddiqui was accused of being a “courier of blood diamonds and a financial fixer for al-Qaeda”. Khan was questioned by the FBI, and released.
    Afraid the FBI would find her in Karachi, a few days later she left her parents’ house along with her three children on March 30. She took a taxi to the airport, ostensibly to catch a morning flight to Islamabad to visit her uncle, but disappeared.
    Siddiqui’s and her children’s whereabouts and activities from March 2003 to July 2008 are a matter of dispute.
    On April 1, 2003, local newspapers reported, and Pakistan interior ministry confirmed, that a woman had been taken into custody on terrorism charges. The Boston Globe described “sketchy” Pakistani news reports saying Pakistani authorities had detained Siddiqui, and had questioned her with FBI agents. However, a couple of days later, both the Pakistan government and the FBI publicly denied having anything to do with her disappearance. On April 22, 2003, two U.S. federal law enforcement officials anonymously said Siddiqui had been taken into custody by Pakistani authorities. Pakistani officials never confirmed the arrest, however, and later that day the U.S. officials amended their earlier statements, saying new information made it “doubtful” she was in custody. Her sister Fauzia claimed Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said that her sister had been released and would be returning home “shortly
    In 2003–04, the FBI and the Pakistani government said they did not know where Siddiqui was .U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft called her the most wanted woman in the world, an al-Qaeda “facilitator” who posed a “clear and present danger to the U.S.” On May 26, 2004, the U.S. listed her among the seven “most wanted” al-Qaeda fugitives. One day before the announcement, The New York Times cited the Department of Homeland Security saying there were no current risks; American Democrats accused the Bush administration of attempting to divert attention from plummeting poll numbers and to push the failings of the Invasion of Iraq off the front pages.
    “Lady Al-Qaeda”—Headline reference to Siddiqui in New York Daily News ”
    Prisoner 650″—Headline reference to Siddiqui in Tehran Times
    According to her ex-husband, after the global alert for her was issued Siddiqui went into hiding, and worked for al-Qaeda. During her disappearance Khan said he saw her at Islamabad airport in April 2003, as she disembarked from a flight with their son, and said he helped Inter-Services Intelligence identify her. He said he again saw her two years later, in a Karachi traffic jam.
    Media reports Siddiqui having told the FBI that she worked at the Karachi Institute of Technology in 2005, was in Afghanistan in the winter of 2007; she stayed for a time during her disappearance in Quetta, Pakistan, and was sheltered by various people. According to an intelligence official in the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, her son Ahmad, who was with her when she was arrested, said he and Siddiqui had worked in an office in Pakistan, collecting money for poor people. He told Afghan investigators that on August 14, 2008, they had traveled by road from Quetta, Pakistan, to Afghanistan. Amjad Khan, who unsuccessfully sought custody of his eldest son, Ahmad, said most of the claims of the family in the Pakistani media relating to her and their children were to garner public support and sympathy for her; he said they were one-sided and in mostly false. An Afghan intelligence official said he believes that Siddiqui was working with Jaish-e-Mohammed (the “Army of Muhammad”), a Pakistani Islamic mujahedeen military group that fights in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
    Siddiqui’s maternal uncle, Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi, said that on January 22, 2008, she visited him in Islamabad. He said that she told him she had been held by Pakistani agencies, and asked for his help in order to cross into Afghanistan, where she thought she would be safe in the hands of the Taliban. He had worked in Afghanistan, and made contact with the Taliban in 1999, but told her he was no longer in touch with them. He notified his sister, Siddiqui’s mother, who came the next day to see her daughter. He said that Siddiqui stayed with them for two days. Her uncle has signed an affidavit swearing to these facts
    Ahmad and Siddiqui reappeared in 2008. Afghan authorities handed the boy over to Pakistan in September 2008, and he now lives with his aunt in Karachi, who has prohibited him from talking to the press. In April 2010, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that a 12-year-old girl who was found outside a house in Karachi was identified by a DNA test as Siddiqui’s daughter Mariyam, and that she had been returned to her family.
    Alternative scenarios
    Siddiqui’s sister and mother denied that she had any connections to al-Qaeda, and that the U.S. detained her secretly in Afghanistan after she disappeared in Pakistan in March 2003 with her three children. They point to comments by former Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, detainees who say they believe a woman held at the prison while they were there was Siddiqui.[54] Her sister said that Siddiqui had been raped, and tortured for five years.[69][70] According to Islamic convert and former Taliban captive Yvonne Ridley, Siddiqui spent those years in solitary confinement at Bagram as Prisoner 650. Six human rights groups, including Amnesty International, listed her as possibly being a “ghost prisoner” held by the U.S. Siddiqui claimed that she had been kidnapped by U.S. intelligence and Pakistani intelligence.
    Siddiqui has not explained clearly what happened to her two other missing children. She has alternated between saying that the two youngest children are dead, and that they are with her sister Fowzia, according to a psychiatric exam. She told one FBI agent that sometimes one has to take up a cause that is more important than one’s children. Khan said he believed that the missing children were in Karachi, either with or in contact with Siddiqui’s family, and not in U.S. detention. He said that they were seen in her sister’s house in Karachi and in Islamabad on several occasions since their alleged disappearance in 2003.
    In April, 2010, Mariam was found outside the family house wearing a collar with the address of the family home she was said to be speaking English. A Pakistani ministry official said the girl was believed to have been held captive in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2010. The U.S. government said it did not hold Siddiqui during that time period, and had no knowledge of her whereabouts from March 2003 until July 2008. The US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, categorically stated that Siddiqui had not been in US custody “at any time” prior to July 2008 A U.S. Justice Department spokesman called the allegations “absolutely baseless and false”, a CIA spokesman also denied that she had been detained by the U.S., and Gregory Sullivan, a State Department spokesman, said: “For several years, we have had no information regarding her whereabouts whatsoever. It is our belief that she … has all this time been concealed from the public view by her own choosing.” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin said in 2008 that U.S. agencies had searched for evidence to support allegations that Siddiqui was detained in 2003, and held for years, but found “zero evidence” that she was abducted, kidnapped, raped or tortured. He added: “A more plausible inference is that she went into hiding because people around her started to get arrested, and at least two of those people ended up at Guantanamo Bay. According to some U.S. officials, she went underground after the FBI alert for her was issued, and was at large working on behalf of al-Qaeda. The cites an anonymous senior Pakistani official suggesting an “invaluable asset” like Siddiqui may have been “flipped” — turned against militant sympathizers — by Pakistani or American intelligence.
    Ahmed Siddiqui’s account

    Ahmed Siddiqui, son of Aafia Siddiqui, in 2008.
    In August 2010 Yvonne Ridley reported that she had acquired a three paragraph statement taken from Ahmed by a US officer before he was released from US custody
    Ahmed described Aafia driving a vehicle taking the family from Karachi to Islamabad, when it was overtaken by several vehicles, and he and his mother were taken into custody. He described the bloody body of his baby brother being left on the side of the road. He said that he had been too afraid to ask his interrogators who they were, but that they included both Pakistanis and Americans. He described beatings when he was in US custody. Eventually, he said, he was sent to a conventional children’s’ prison in Pakistan.
    His statement does not describe how he and his mother came to be in Ghazni in 2008.
    Arrest in Afghanistan
    Siddiqui was approached by Ghazni Province police officers outside the Ghazni governor’s compound on the evening of July 17, 2008 in the city of Ghazni. With two small bags at her side, crouching on the ground, she aroused the suspicion of a man who feared she might be concealing a bomb under the burqua that she was wearing. A shopkeeper noticed a woman in a burqa drawing a map, which is suspicious in Afghanistan where women are generally illiterate. She was accompanied by a teenage boy about 12, who she reportedly claimed was an orphan she had adopted. She said her name was Saliha, that she was from Multan in Pakistan, and that the boy’s name was Ali Hassan. Discovering that she did not speak either of Afghanistan’s main dialects, Pashtu or Dari, the officers regarded her as suspicious.

    The Plum Island Animal Disease Center, one of the locations listed in Siddiqui’s notes with regard to a “mass casualty” attack
    In a bag she was carrying, the police found that she had a number of documents written in Urdu and English describing the creation of explosives, chemical weapons, Ebola, dirty bombs, and radiological agents (which discussed mortality rates of certain of the weapons), and handwritten notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” that listed various U.S. locations and landmarks (including the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the New York City subway system), according to her indictment. The Globe also mentioned one document about a ‘theoretical’ biological weapon that did not harm children. She also reportedly had documents detailing U.S. “military assets”, excerpts from The Anarchist’s Arsenal, a one-gigabyte digital media storage device that contained over 500 electronic documents (including correspondence referring to attacks by “cells”, describing the U.S. as an enemy, and discussing recruitment of jihadists and training), maps of Ghazni and the provincial governor’s compounds and the mosques he prayed in, and photos of Pakistani military people. Other notes described various ways to attack enemies, including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater bombs, and using gliders.
    She also had “numerous chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars”, according to the later complaint against her, and about two pounds of sodium cyanide, a highly toxic poison. The U.S. prosecutors later said that sodium cyanide is lethal even when ingested in small doses (even less than five milligrams), and various of the other chemicals she had cam be used in explosives. Abdul Ghani, Ghazni’s deputy police chief, said she later confessed that she intended to carry out a suicide attack against the provincial governor.
    The officers arrested her, as she cursed them, and took her to a police station. She said that the boy found with her was her stepson, Ali Hassan; Siddiqui subsequently admitted he was her biological son, when DNA testing proved the boy to be Ahmed.
    There are conflicting accounts of the events following her arrest which led to her being sent to the United States for trial. American authorities say that two FBI agents, a U.S. Army warrant officer, a U.S. Army captain, and their U.S. military interpreters arrived in Ghazni the following day, on July 18, to interview Siddiqui at the Afghan National Police facility where she was being held.
    Shooting; conflicting accounts
    “It was pure chaos.”
    —Captain Robert Snyder
    • American authorities say that the following day, on July 18, two FBI agents, a U.S. Army warrant officer, a U.S. Army captain, and their U.S. military interpreters arrived in Ghazni to interview Siddiqui at the Afghan National Police facility where she was being held. They reported they congregated in a meeting room that was partitioned by a curtain, but did not realize that Siddiqui was standing unsecured behind the curtain. The warrant officer sat down adjacent to the curtain, and put his loaded M-4 assault rifle on the floor by his feet, next to the curtain. Siddiqui drew back the curtain, picked up the rifle, and pointed it at the captain “I could see the barrel of the rifle, the inner portion of the barrel of the weapon; that indicated to me that it was pointed straight at my head,” he said.
    Then, she was said to have threatened them loudly in English, and yelled “Get the fuck out of here” and “May the blood of [unintelligible] be on your [head or hands]”. The captain dove for cover to his left, as she yelled “Allah Akbar” and fired at least two shots at them, missing them.
    An Afghan interpreter who was seated closest to her lunged, grabbed and pushed the rifle, and tried to wrest it from her. At that point the warrant officer returned fire with a 9-millimeter pistol, hitting her in the torso, and one of the interpreters managed to wrestle the rifle away from her during the ensuing struggle she initially struck and kicked the officers, while shouting in English that she wanted to kill Americans, and then lost consciousness.
    • Siddiqui related a different version of events, according to Pakistani senators who later visited her in jail. She denied touching a gun, shouting, or threatening anyone. She said she stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain, and that after one of the startled soldiers shouted “She is loose”, she was shot. On regaining consciousness, she said someone said “We could lose our jobs.”
    • Some of the Afghan police offered a third version of the events, telling Reuters that U.S. troops had demanded that she be handed over, disarmed the Afghans when they refused, and then shot Siddiqui mistakenly thinking she was a suicide bomber.
    Siddiqui was taken to Bagram Air Base by helicopter in critical condition. When she arrived at the hospital she was rated at 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, but she underwent emergency surgery without complication. She was hospitalized at the Craig Theater Joint Hospital, and recovered over the next two weeks Once she was in a stable condition, the Pakistani government allowed the Americans to transport her to the United States for trial. The day after landing, Siddiqui was arraigned in a Manhattan courtroom on charges of attempted murder. Her three-person defense team was hired by the Pakistani embassy to supplement her two existing public defenders, but Siddiqui refused to cooperate with them
    Trial Charges
    Siddiqui was charged on July 31, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, with assault with a deadly weapon, and with attempting to kill U.S. personnel She was flown to New York on August 6, and indicted on September 3, 2008, on two counts of attempted murder of U.S. nationals, officers, and employees, assault with a deadly weapon, carrying and using a firearm, and three counts of assault on U.S. officers and employees.
    Explaining why the U.S. may have chosen to charge her as they did, rather than for her alleged terrorism, Bruce Hoffman, professor of security studies at Georgetown University, said the decision turned what might have been a potentially complex terrorism matter into a more straightforward case:
    “There’s no intelligence data that needs to be introduced, no sources and methods that need to be risked. It’s a good old-fashioned crime; it’s the equivalent of a 1920s gangster with a Tommy gun.”
    Medical treatment and psychological assessments
    According to FBI reports prepared shortly after July 18, 2008, Siddiqui repeatedly denied shooting anyone, and later told a U.S. special agent at the Craig Hospital on or about August 1 that “‘spewing bullets at soldiers is bad’, but to her surprise ‘you’ have still taken care of me and treated me well.” On August 11, after her counsel maintained that Siddiqui had not seen a doctor since arriving in the U.S. the previous week, U.S. magistrate judge Henry B. Pitman ordered that she be examined by a medical doctor within 24 hours. Prosecutors maintained that Siddiqui had been provided with adequate medical care since her detention in Afghanistan, though at the hearing they were unable to confirm whether she had been seen in New York by a doctor or by a paramedic. The judge postponed her bail hearing until September 3. An examination by a doctor the following day found no visible signs of infection; she also received a CAT scan.
    Siddiqui was provided care for her wound while incarcerated in the U.S. In September 2008, a prosecutor reported to the court that Siddiqui had refused to be examined by a female doctor, despite the doctor’s extensive efforts. On September 9, 2008, she underwent a forced medical exam. In November 2008, forensic psychologist Dr. Leslie Powers reported that Siddiqui had been “reluctant to allow medical staff to treat her”. Her last medical exam had indicated her external wounds no longer required medical dressing, and were healing well. A psychiatrist employed by the prosecutor to examine Siddiqui’s competence to stand trial, Gregory B. Saathoff M.D., noted in a March 2009 report that Siddiqui frequently verbally and physically refused to allow the medical staff to check her vital signs and weight, attempted to refuse medical care once it was apparent that her wound had largely healed, and refused to take antibiotics. At the same time, Siddiqui claimed to her brother that when she needed medical treatment she did not get it, which Saathoff said he found no support for in his review of documents and interviews with medical and security personnel, nor in his interviews with Siddiqui
    Siddiqui’s trial was subject to delays, the longest being six months in order to perform psychiatric evaluations. She had been given routine mental health check-ups ten times in August and six times in September.
    She underwent three sets of psychological assessments before trial. Her first psychiatric evaluation diagnosed her with depressive psychosis, and her second evaluation, ordered by the court, revealed chronic depression. Leslie Powers initially determined Siddiqui mentally unfit to stand trial. After reviewing portions of FBI reports, however, she told the pre-trial judge she believed Siddiqui was faking mental illness.
    In a third set of psychological assessments, more detailed than the previous two, three of four psychiatrists concluded that she was “malingering” (faking her symptoms of mental illness). One suggested that this was to prevent criminal prosecution, and to improve her chances of being returned to Pakistan. In April 2009, Manhattan federal judge Richard Berman held that she “may have some mental health issues” but was competent to stand trial.
    Objection to having Jews on the jury
    Siddiqui said she did not want Jews on the jury. She demanded that all prospective jurors be DNA-tested, and excluded from the jury at her trial:
    If they have a Zionist or Israeli background … they are all mad at me … I have a feeling everyone here is them—subject to genetic testing. They should be excluded, if you want to be fair.
    Siddiqui’s legal team said, in regard to her comments, that her incarceration had damaged her mind.
    Prior to her trial, Siddiqui said she was innocent of all charges. She maintained she could prove she was innocent, but refused to do so in court. On January 11, 2010, Siddiqui told the Judge that she would not cooperate with her attorneys, and wanted to fire them. She also said she did not trust the Judge, and added, “I’m boycotting the trial, just to let all of you know. There are too many injustices.” She then put her head down on the defense table as the prosecution proceeded.
    Trial proceedings
    Siddiqui’s trial began in New York City on January 19, 2010. Prior to the jury entering the courtroom, Siddiqui told onlookers that she would not work with her lawyers because the court was not fair she also said: “I have information about attacks, more than 9/11! … I want to help the President to end this group, to finish them … They are a domestic, U.S. group; they are not Muslim.”
    Nine government witnesses were called by the prosecution: Army Captain Robert Snyder, John Thread craft, a former army officer, and FBI agent John Jefferson testified first. As Snyder testified that Siddiqui had been arrested with a handwritten note outlining plans to attack various U.S. sites, she retorted: “If you were in a secret prison … where children were raped and tortured … This is no list of targets against New York. I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.” The court also heard from FBI agent John Jefferson and Ahmed Gul, an army interpreter, who recounted their struggle with her.
    The defense said there was no forensic evidence that the rifle was fired in the interrogation room. They noted the nine government witnesses offered conflicting accounts of how many people were in the room, where they were positioned and how many shots were fired. It said it her handbag contents were not credible as evidence because they were sloppily handled.
    According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, Carlo Rosati, an FBI firearms expert witness in the federal court doubted whether the M-4 rifle was ever fired at the crime scene.; an FBI agent testified that Siddiqui’s fingerprints were not found on the rifle. The prosecution argued that it was not unusual to fail to get fingerprints off a gun. “This is a crime that was committed in a war zone, a chaotic and uncontrolled environment 6,000 miles away from here.” Gul’s testimony appeared, according to the defense, to differ from that given by Snyder with regard to whether Siddiqui was standing or on her knees as she fired the rifle. When Siddiqui testified, though she admitted trying to escape, she denied that she had grabbed the rifle and said she had been raped and tortured in secret prisons before her arrest by a “group of people pretending to be Americans, doing bad things in America’s name.”
    During the trial, Siddiqui was removed from the court several times for repeatedly interrupting the proceedings with shouting; on being ejected, she was told by the judge that she could watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television in an adjacent holding cell. A request by the defense lawyers to declare a mistrial was turned down by the judge.

    Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, where Siddiqui was imprisoned
    The trial lasted 14 days, with the jury deliberating for three days before reaching a verdict. On February 3, 2010, she was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder, armed assault, using and carrying a firearm, and three counts of assault on U.S. officers and employees. After jurors found Siddiqui guilty, she exclaimed: “This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America. That’s where the anger belongs.”
    She faced a minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison on the firearm charge, and could also have received a sentence of up to 20 years for each attempted murder and armed assault charge, and up to 8 years on each of the remaining assault counts. Her lawyers requested a 12-year sentence, instead of the life sentence recommended by the probation office. They argued that mental illness drove her actions when she attempted to escape from the Afghan National Police station “by any means available … what she viewed as a horrific fate”. Her lawyers also claimed her mental illness was on display during her trial outbursts and boycotts, and that she was “first and foremost” the victim of her own irrational behavior. The sentencing hearing set to take place on May 6, 2010, was rescheduled for mid-August 2010, and then September 2010
    As of 2010, Siddiqui (Federal Bureau of Prisons #90279-054) is being held at Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn.
    Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison by the federal judge Berman in Manhattan on September 23, 2010, following a one-hour hearing in which she testified,
    In sentencing her, Judge Berman said: “As she did this … [she uttered] in the same impeccable English that she has demonstrated here in the courtroom, anti-American sentiments” like “ ‘I want to kill Americans’ ” and “ ‘Death to America.’ ” Referring to her five-year disappearance and her claims of torture, the judge said:
    I am aware of no evidence in the record to substantiate these allegations or to establish them as fact. There is no credible evidence in the record that the United States officials and/or agencies detained Dr. Siddiqui” before her 2008 arrest.
    After she was sentenced, Siddiqui urged forgiveness and asked the public not to take any action in retaliation.
    Threat by the Taliban
    According to a February 2010 report in the Pakistani newspaper The News International, the Taliban threatened to execute captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, whom they have held since June 2009, in retaliation for Siddiqui’s conviction. A Taliban spokesperson claimed that members of Siddiqui’s family had requested help from the Taliban to obtain her release from prison in the U.S.

  2. My Dear Friends;
    We are sorry to write that one of pro American Lady who had been living in USA at US Scholarships Mrs. Aafia who has been awarded sentence for 86 years by US Judge; has been required by local Taliban M. Osman for exchange with British Aid worker who has been kidnapped by him recently, has proved the relation of Taliban with her. A wise person cannot protest for any kind of radical fanatic terrorist, so, therefore, please cool down and do not create distress for your own Pakistan government for nothing.
    “A local Taliban commander named Mohammad Osman said he had kidnapped the 36-year-old, whose identity the Daily Telegraph has learned but agreed to conceal to protect her safety.
    He said he was demanding an exchange for Aafia Siddiqui, a 38-year-old neuroscientist dubbed ‘Lady Qaeda’ by US newspapers, who was jailed last week by a New York court for 86 years for the attempted murder of US agents and soldiers who were trying to interrogate her in Afghanistan.”
    {For whom you are protesting, for whom you are taking processions for a terrorist or what..?}
    We Never Support any Terrorist for any reason
    Proud to be Pakistan; Pakistan first
    Dr. Syed Hamid Hussain Naqvi Subzwari {Ph.D. -UK}

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