[Ppnews] Demand repatriation for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 13 12:48:38 EDT 2010



Demand repatriation for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

By Sara Flounders
http://www.workers.org/2010/world/aafia_siddiqui_0819/

New York
Published Aug 13, 2010 10:32 AM

An international campaign has been launched 
demanding the repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui 
to her homeland of Pakistan. Siddiqui is being 
held in a federal prison in New York City 
awaiting sentencing, which is currently scheduled for Sept. 23.

In March 2003, at the age of 30, Siddiqui 
disappeared along with her three children from a 
street in Karachi, Pakistan. At the end of that 
month, the Pakistan media reported that Siddiqui 
had been arrested and turned over to U.S. officials.

Siddiqui mysteriously reappeared on the streets 
of Ghazni, Afghanistan, following five years of 
secret detention. There she was immediately 
rearrested, shot and almost killed. After 
emergency treatment, she was brought to the 
United States and held in solitary confinement 
for almost two years before being placed on trial 
before a federal court in New York City.

The government charges were preposterous. 
Siddiqui had supposedly been first arrested not 
in 2003 but in July 2008, five years after her 
disappearance. U.S. authorities claim that when 
their military personnel went to interrogate her 
after the arrest, Siddiqui grabbed a U.S. 
soldier’s M-4 assault rifle, fired off two rounds 
and was shot while being subdued.

Questions of how the bullets supposedly fired by 
Siddiqui failed to hit a single one of the 20 to 
30 people in the small, crowded room, or hit any 
wall or floor, or leave any residue or 
fingerprints were never answered. Witness 
testimonies often contradicted their earlier 
sworn statements and the testimonies of others. 
The prosecution urged the jury to ignore science 
and irrefutable facts and believe the 
contradictory testimony of U.S. Special Forces 
soldiers and FBI agents. In the current intense 
climate of fear over “national security,” the 
jury found her guilty of assaulting and 
attempting to murder her U.S. interrogators.

Siddiqui’s missing son, Ahmed, was reunited with 
his aunt in late 2008, while her daughter, 
Maryum, was dropped near the aunt’s home in 
Karachi in April, after she had been missing for 
seven years. Siddiqui’s youngest child, Suleman, 
who would now be about 7 years old, remains missing and is feared dead.

There have been massive demonstrations in 
Pakistan’s major cities demanding the return of 
this 38-year-old mother, now dubbed the “daughter 
of Pakistan.” There is already immense 
international outrage about her case. Siddiqui 
has repeatedly maintained in court appearances 
that she was tortured while in U.S. custody.

Siddiqui’s five years in secret detention in 
Pakistan and Afghanistan, her grievous injuries, 
her two years in solitary confinement in the U.S. 
and her trial in New York City have been top news 
in Pakistan. Civil rights, religious and women’s 
organizations have marched and petitioned, 
demanding the U.S. allow her to return to Pakistan.

Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, her younger sister, in 
stressing the urgency of a campaign for Aafia 
Siddiqui’s repatriation, explains that under U.S. 
law a foreigner tried by a U.S. court can be 
repatriated to the country of his or her 
nationality on the request of that government 
before the pronouncement of a sentence. She says 
there are 19 such precedents in which prisoners, 
after indictment, were repatriated to their 
countries at the request of their respective governments.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is neither a U.S. citizen nor 
a permanent resident. She had only one passport, 
issued by the Pakistani government.

Siddiqui has not been charged with committing any 
crime on U.S. soil. Therefore she should not have 
been extradited to the U.S. for trial but either 
tried in Afghanistan or extradited to Pakistan. 
She was not charged with terrorism nor with 
injuring or harming anyone anywhere. She is a 
victim of terrible, life-threatening injuries.

The Pakistani government should insist through 
diplomatic channels on Siddiqui’s repatriation. 
Based on overwhelming Pakistani sentiment for 
Siddiqui’s return, the U.S. government should grant this humanitarian request.

Petitions demanding Siddiqui’s repatriation, 
directed to President Barack Obama and Pakistani 
President Asif Ali Zardari, as well as the media, 
will be delivered on Aug. 14 ­ Pakistan 
Independence Day ­ to the Pakistan Mission to the 
United Nations. To sign the petition, visit iacenter.org.

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