Sham Trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: Update

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My Children Were Tortured, This Trial is a Sham: Aafia

By Press TV January 20

Aafia Siddiqui

Aafia Siddiqui

AAFIA Siddiqui has told jurors at her trial that she was held in a secret prison in Afghanistan, her children were tortured, and the case against her is a sham.

On Tuesday, Siddiqui was thrown out of the New York courtroom where her trail is being held after shouting the remarks at the jurors.

The MIT-educated neuroscientist is currently on trial, facing charges of trying to kill US soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan in 2008 and connections with Al-Qaeda operatives.

She was ejected from her federal court trial after her second outburst, Bloomberg reported.

“Since I’ll never get a chance to speak,” she said in the courtroom. “If you were in a secret prison, or your children were tortured…”

She insisted that she knew nothing about a plan to carry out terrorist attacks on targets in New York, The New York Daily News reported.

“Give me a little credit, this is not a list of targets of New York,” she said. “I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.”

Siddiqui vanished in Karachi, Pakistan with her three children on March 30, 2003. The next day it was reported in local newspapers that she had been taken into custody on terrorism charges.

US officials allege Aafia Siddiqui was seized on July 17, 2008 by Afghan security forces in Ghazni province and claim that documents, including formulas for explosives and chemical weapons, were found in her handbag.

They say that while she was being interrogated, she grabbed a US warrant officer’s M-4 rifle and fired two shots at FBI agents and military personnel but missed and that the warrant officer then fired back, hitting her in the torso.

She was brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault. Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

However, human rights organizations have cast doubt on the accuracy of the US account of the event.

Many political activists believe she was Prisoner 650 of the US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, where they say she was tortured for five years until one day US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Case – A Detailed Story of Lies And Deception By The Americans

By M. Junaid Khan

January 20, 2010 “Pro Pakistan” – We have regularly covered Dr. Aafia case at Pro-Pakistan. We have highlighted the injustices done to her and her family by the Americans in a completely one sided trial. However, the current article is just another effort to share with our readers how this whole drama unfolded till date and how the media reported it. The reason we chose this day is because of the fact that today the American court is again holding another purported trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. The irony is that the current case against her rest on a crime she committed after being arrested by the Americans in Afghanistan in 2008. Or at least that is how Americans put it while the reality is that she was arrested in 2003 by FBI agents in Karachi, Pakistan.

The arrest news was spread in the national and international media and here is just one instance of NBC5 quoting the story back in 2003. According to NBC5, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is in US custody:
U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly interrogating a Pakistani woman alleged to have moved funds and assisted with logistics planning for al-Qaida. FBI Seeking Siddiqui According to the Press Trust of India in an article published on its Web site Thursday, the woman has been identified as 31-year-old Aafia Siddiqui, who was being sought by U.S. officials last week along with two other men, including one whose last known address was in Miramar, Fla.

According to the PTI, Siddiqui was arrested in Karachi recently after returning from an overseas trip last month. The service quoted reports in the Boston Globe and Oklahama (TV) News Channel’s Web site.

The FBI had issued a worldwide alert for Siddiqui, already said this … ‘a housewife and mother of three who holds a doctorate in neurological science and degrees from Braindeis University and M.I.T. ) Siddiqui reportedly lived in Boston with her husband for several years.’

NBC News reported last week that senior U.S. officials that Siddiqui may be a so-called “fixer” for al-Qaida and not an actual member. According to those reports, Siddiqui may have been used by the organization move money and provide other logistical support. One official said, “The Intel indicates that she is tied to some very radical individuals in Pakistan.”

Now here is the problem, the American kept her under rigorous detention in Bagram jail (Afghan equivalent of Guantanamo Prison) and were not accepting her presence until the story was shared by ex inmates of the jail to the media. She was constantly tortured for 5 years and was sexually and physically abused each and every day for 5 consecutive years while the American put their best resources at work to find a single flaw in her past. Ironically, they failed to find a single wrong in her past and hence Americans were in a fix how to get rid of her.

The real problem started after the press conference in Pakistan by British journalist Yvonne Ridley in which she shared the story of the Prisoner 650, the gray Ghost lady of Bagram prison. In the mean while, we must keep this in mind that Western media left no stone unturned to label her the big catch of Al Qaeda in the hands of the Americans while Americans themselves couldn’t prove a single instance of her involvement in terrorist activities in their 5 years of non stop search for something (anything) to implicate her and save their face.

After Yvonne Ridley’s press conference, it became evident that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is the unfortunate soul to bear the brunt of the worst kind of treatment in the modern history of the world. A well educated lady was made to suffer 5 years of non stop physical and sexual abuse at the hands of American military and intelligence officials.

The issue of Prisoner 650 became public and every media house in the world started giving it coverage and soon protesters came out on the roads in several Pakistani cities and in few Western countries for her release. The American intelligence agency, who failed to find any evidence against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, however was quick to stage a stupid drama, that speaks volumes about their thinking patterns. Even hollywood movie writer would have done a better job then the drama script written by the American intelligence agencies. Here is how Dr. Aafia emerged again from the Bagram Prison in front of the World. This is the story some dumb ass American intelligent agent wrote (PS: US agent! please don’t mind my language but trust me your script sucks! At least try to watch 24 and come out with something better next time). And i am quoting direct American biased justice department source so that you know how they report such dramas on thir website to impress their own citizens.

According to website of the US Justice Department:

NEW YORK- Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mark J. Mershon, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (”FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the arrest of Aafia Siddiqui on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan. Siddiqui arrived in New York this evening and will be presented tomorrow before a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:
On July 17, 2008, officers of the Ghazni Province Afghanistan National Police (”ANP”) observed Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound. ANP officers questioned Siddiqui, regarded her as suspicious, and searched her handbag. In it, they found numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal. Siddiqui’s papers included descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City. Siddiqui was also in possession of substances that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.

On July 18, 2008, a party of United States personnel, including two FBI special agents, a United States Army Warrant Officer, a United States Army Captain, and United States military interpreters, arrived at the Afghan facility where Siddiqui was being held. The personnel entered a second floor meeting room — unaware that Siddiqui was being held there, unsecured, behind a curtain.

The Warrant Officer took a seat and placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor next to the curtain. Shortly after the meeting began, the Captain heard a woman yell from the curtain and, when he turned, saw Siddiqui holding the Warrant Officer’s rifle and pointing it directly at the Captain. Siddiqui said, “May the blood of [unintelligible] be directly on your [unintelligible, possibly head or hands].” The interpreter seated closest to Siddiqui lunged at her and pushed the rifle away as Siddiqui pulled the trigger. Siddiqui fired at least two shots but no one was hit. The Warrant Officer returned fire with a 9 mm service pistol and fired approximately two rounds at Siddiqui’s torso, hitting her at least once.

Despite being shot, Siddiqui struggled with the officers when they tried to subdue her; she struck and kicked them while shouting in English that she wanted to kill Americans. After being subdued, Siddiqui temporarily lost consciousness. The agents and officers then rendered medical aid to Siddiqui. Can anyone imagine why someone Siddiqui, a 36-year-old Pakistani woman who previously resided in the United States, is charged in a criminal Complaint filed in the Southern District of New York with one count of attempting to kill United States officers and employees and one count of assaulting United States officers and employees. If convicted, Siddiqui faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge.

Just try to see a logic behind the purported story shared with the world by the Americans! What Dr. Aafia was doing outside Governor house? Trying to gather intelligence? Trying to blow it up? Trying to get herself arrested? Or just roaming around for a morning or evening walk? In any of the above cases, can you tell me why will she take with her the method of making bombs in her handbag? Was she sitting in some park where she was trying to prepare her lecture or was she trying to memorize some new techniques in the open? Or was she just keeping them in her bag to make sure when she is arrested, she provide enough evidence against her arrest to the government to use it against her? Moreover, she was also carrying landmarks of American buildings etc etc etc! I wonder if anyone would really need landmarks in this modern era? Don’t you think we have a lot more public information available even to a primary kid on the internet and hence there is no need to carry it with you.

Moreover, why would she carry these things with her when she was roaming around Governor palace in Afghanistan? Was she on way to airport to land directly at JFK? Or was there not enough space in her home to keep that documents? A logical mind fail to see a relation in those two set of documents inside the bag of a lady strolling for morning walk in the peaceful and serene streets of war torn Afghanistan! Sounds interesting! Lets see what else she got? Okies! She got some SUBSTANCE (i repeat SUBSTANCE) that was sealed inside a jar and some bottles! Now this has further complicateed the already very tough case here! Can anyone of my reader guide us all here? Because i am lost here! What do you mean by “SUBSTANCE?” Is chocolate a substance or is cookies counted as substance? Do you also count sweets as Substance? If not then share with us what does “SUBSTANCE” stands for? And why would an evening or morning stroller keep these in her bag when she was actually on a picnic in the serene city of Afghanistan? May be she could use it to blow up the Governor’s palace? Or may be she could eat it? I don’t know but it is beyond my level of intellect and I need guidance from our readers since they might have a clue!

The irony is that Americans are trying to tell the world that their dumb story is based on facts while a mere search on internet will confirm our concerns about the real drama run by someone sitting in Langley or Pentagon. Here is how a famous Pakistani newspaper reported a story where an Intelligence Official admitted arresting Dr. Aafia in 2003 and handing her over to American FBI while the same FBI claims to have captured her in 2008 in Afghanistan. This is on the record of a Pakistani court and hence enjoys a legal status unlike Americans provided evidence that only exist in their own records and not to be shared with anyone in the world.
She was later shifted to America where she is facing court trial for a crime she never committed in America at first place. Even the American FBI and Intelligence officials failed to provide the evidence of her finger prints on the gun she supposedly used to shoot her investigators and the interpreters. Even no bullets were recovered from the room which she allegedly fired at the Americans. Here is a link to the details of the court hearing.

According to Yvonne Ridley, who first shared her story with the world, there is some senior ranking American intelligence official responsible for all the debacle since it was his authority to sign the papers authorising her kidnapping, rendition, five years of non stop torture and then keeping her in jail without sharing the details. Even the way she was reproduced is done on the orders of the same intelligence official who is sitting on the most important position in the American intelligence network. He is still using all his available resources to cover his tracks but i think now the thing has gone out and the decision rests with the American Judiciary. The trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has gained tremendous support in USA itself and people from the length and breadth of America have come to the court to witness it despite the fact that the judge changed the dates constantly to create confusion and to bring down the case profile.

The case will be presented today at a US Court. According to the Dawn story:
The trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist under US detention, will begin today in New York City after jury selection was completed last week A JA jury of seven women and five men were chosen on Thursday, with four alternate jurors. Dr Aafia had earlier objected over the composition of the jury.
She is accused of trying to kill US Army officers — who were interrogating her in Afghanistan in July 2008, a charge vehemently denied by her.
No one was hit in the alleged shooting incident, but she was shot twice in the stomach.

Dr. Aafia has repeatedly said she will boycott her own trial and has even disowned the lawyers retained for her defence by the Pakistan government.
Meanwhile, the lead lawyer for Dr. Aafia said that her legal defence team will fight for her acquittal with a strong case it has built over the past four months.
Lets see how long this drama goes on and to what extent the American Intelligence official, backed by other powerful American politicians, goes to hide the crimes he committed against an innocent woman and her family. The outcome of the case is very important since the eyes of the world Muslim population and those who believe in the American justice system are fixed on this case as a benchmark.

Let’s see if Justice prevails in the Wild Wild West!

New York Trial Prompts Outrage in Pakistan

By Saeed Shah

January 20, 2010 “Globe and Mail” — In the United States, she’s been dubbed “the most dangerous woman in the world.” In Pakistan, she is seen as a victim of American injustice in the fight against al-Qaeda. And at the opening of her trial in New York, the judge found her too disruptive and had her removed from the courtroom.

“I was never planning a bombing! You’re lying!” Aafia Siddiqui shouted as she was taken out of court less than two hours into the proceedings yesterday.

The outburst came as U.S. Army Captain Robert Snyder testified that documents found in Dr. Siddiqui’s possession included targets for a mass casualty attack, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There was shouting in Pakistan, too, at demonstrations in cities across the country in support of Dr. Siddiqui, who is a national cause célèbre as a symbol of Muslims mistreated during U.S. antiterrorism efforts, just like the prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, or Bagram, the Afghan prison where her supporters say she was secretly held for years.

Dr. Siddiqui’s frail appearance and tormented outbursts in pretrial hearings have added to allegations that she has had to endure years of torture since going missing from her hometown of Karachi in 2003. But according to her detractors, including her former husband Amjad Khan, she was a jihadist who spent those years on the run. Some have even suggested that she became a double agent, working at some point against al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials have accused Dr. Siddiqui, a 37-year-old neuroscientist educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of working for al-Qaeda, in particular as a facilitator for the 9/11 hijackers. The only charges she faces in the New York court, however, are related to the extraordinary circumstances of her supposed capture in Afghanistan in 2008.

“They couldn’t find a more innocent person,” says Fauzia Siddiqui, Aafia’s sister in Karachi. “I don’t believe that there’s any justice possible in the post-9/11 U.S. system.”

Fauzia Siddiqui cares for 13-year-old Ahmed, one of her sister’s three children, who were all with her when she disappeared. The whereabouts of the other two, Suleman, who would now be 7, and Maryam, 10, remain a mystery.

Dr. Siddiqui’s family says she was abducted by Pakistani intelligence and then handed over to American agents.

Shortly after the stories of Dr. Siddiqui’s alleged detention at Bagram hit the international headlines in 2008, she turned up in American custody. U.S. authorities said she was arrested after acting suspiciously in Ghazni, Afghanistan, a town 80 kilometres south of Kabul, and found with documentation on U.S. landmarks and jars containing chemicals.

According to the U.S. account, when in custody at a police station in Ghazni, the petite Dr .Siddiqui jumped out from behind a curtain, grabbed an M-4 rifle that was lying at the foot of a U.S. soldier, and shot at him twice, missing. A second soldier fired back, hitting her in the stomach. She was then flown to the United States.

In New York, she faces life in prison on charges of attempted murder, armed assault on U.S. officers and employees and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence – all stemming from the Ghazni incident.

Defence lawyer Charles Swift – whom Dr. Siddiqui has disowned – told jurors there was no conclusive evidence she ever picked up the rifle. “There are many different versions of how this happened,” he said.

In Pakistani cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, there were small but emotional demonstrations.

“They [the Americans] are just trying to lock up people to show they have some bad guys, to try to prove they are winning the war,” 18-year-old student Mohammad bin Ismail said in Islamabad. “They are using people like trophies.”

The fact that Dr. Siddiqui is a woman seems to have generated much anger in conservative Pakistan, where her support is noticeably from the religious right. “It’s a case of rendition,” said Amina Janjua, a local campaigner for missing people. “We feel that as a Pakistani nation, our respect, honour and dignity is at stake.”

Special to The Globe and Mail


WHAT I witnessed in Tuesday’s proceeding (not attended the Wednesday proceeding) was a TRAVESTY! Midway into the morning’s proceedings Aafia was removed from the courtroom due to her inability to remain quiet while being assaulted from the witness stand, by what she asserts are a battery of “lies.” The sister is not trusting of these proceedings, nor anyone connected to them; and this is understandable given all that she has already been forced to endure.

Yesterday’s real travesty, however, centered around the physical manipulation of the courtroom itself, and the shameful treatment accorded certain media representatives (esp. foreign media) who were denied the usual protocol normally afforded media personnel; simply because they failed to secure a special media pass during the pretrial hearings – a requirement they had no knowledge of.

Another appalling manipulation at yesterday’s proceeding revolved around two overflow courtrooms packed with Aafia supporters  and non-favored media reps (esp. Pakistani journalists), while empty seats remained in the main courtroom!

I was in one of the overflow courtrooms in the morning, and in the main courtroom in the afternoon. I noted that in the main courtroom the whole left side of the room had rows of empty seats marked “reserved,” while folks outside the door were still being directed to one of the overflow courtrooms with the stated lie “There’s no room left!” (More on why I believe this is being done, later.)

What follows are five reports generated from the first day of the trial. The captions (alone) from the first two reports graphically reveal how difficult it will be for Aafia to receive a fair trial in this federal court house. It also underscores why a continual maspresence of support is so important as a mechanism for helping to counter-produce positive pressure!

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Hearing Update
MLFA (Muslim Legal Fund of America) Report

On January 11, Judge Richard Berman presided over the hearing to determine what evidence will be allowed into the trial against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. The courtroom was filled with supporters. Below is a summary of this hearing. This summary was provided by attendees of the hearing and is not a transcript or a complete account of the hearing.

Upon arriving to the hearing, Aafia made a public appeal that no revenge should be taken in her name. She reminded those in attendance that Prophet Mohammad forgave those who treated him unjustly. After speaking briefly, she sat down and remained silent throughout the proceedings.

During the proceedings, the prosecution stated that they will not be alleging that Aafia is a member of Al Qaeda, the Taliban or any terrorist organization. However, they wanted to be able to use these phrases in the context of the trial. The defense objected to this as being highly prejudicial. The prosecution also wanted to bring up Aafia’s education at MIT to introduce her alleged knowledge of chemical science. The defense objected on the grounds that Aafia is not being charged with any counts related to chemical weapons. The defense accused the prosecution of attempting to bring in selective, unrelated information in an apparent attempt to confuse and prejudice the jury and general public to cover up holes in the government’s case.

The defense wants to exclude items the defense claims were found on Aafia’s person because the Afghan police who arrested Aafia are not being brought to court and two of the Afghan police officers were not able to identify that Aafia was the person they arrested, making the claim that she had certain items on her person merely hearsay. The defense wants to show video depositions of Afghan police during the trial and wants to include as evidence the fact  that one of the FBI agents who initially went to the scene has a history of disciplinary action.

The defense also argued that the forensic evidence shows that the charges against Aafia are false, specifically:

  • there are no fingerprints on the gun;
  • there is no DNA evidence;
  • there is no residue; and
  • there were no bullets recovered from the scene.

The defense argued that the evidence shows that Aafia never touched the gun and that the only shooting that occurred was the shooting of Aafia.

The judge did not allow the jury questionnaire and said he will decide what questions the defense is allowed to ask potential jurors, which may make it difficult for the defense to filter out potentially prejudiced jurors.  No Daubert hearing will be held to determine which expert witnesses will be allowed. So, the prosecution’s expert witnesses will be allowed to testify, despite the defense team’s objections regarding their qualifications.

The defense complained to the judge that the prosecution has still not turned over the list of witnesses they plan to call for the trial. The judge allowed the prosecution to delay providing the list and agreed with the prosecution’s request to only provide names and no other information, making it difficult for the defense to properly prepare to examine the witnesses. The judge seemed eager to move on and avoid the issue.

The defense repeated their request for a video link so Aafia would not have to go through the routine strip and cavity searches, but the judge argued that he wants her to have the right to face her accuser and therefore she must be forced to court (despite the fact that those who are accusing her are not being brought to court for her to face).

At the conclusion of the hearing, Aafia stated that she was for peace and was not against America. She said that many injustices are being done to her. Many in the audience cried as the US Marshals forcibly removed her, physically pushing her at times.

The defense lawyers pleaded with the US Marshals and the MDC prison legal representative, Christa Colvin, to allow a five minute meeting between Aafia and her brother, but the US Marshals refused. When her brother attempted to say a few words to her, the Marshals turned Aafia’s head away so she could not respond.

On January 14, a jury of seven women and five men was chosen, with two men and two women as four alternate jurors.

Opening statements are scheduled to start on January 19 at 9:00 AM. We encourage all supporters in the NY area to attend (U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 21B, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007). If you know someone in the NY area, please forward this email to them and ask them to attend.

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