[Ppnews] The Siddiqui Case - Lawyers Release Explosive, Secretly Recorded Tape

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 14 12:47:30 EST 2011


February 14, 2011


A New Turn as Lawyers Release Explosive, Secretly Recorded Tape

The Siddiqui Case


In 2003 an MIT-educated expert in children’s 
learning patterns, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, disappeared 
with her three children in Pakistan. Was she, as 
the Americans said, an Al Qaeda operative who in 
2008 emerged after five years undercover, 
carrying a handbag full of chemicals and plans 
for major terror attacks in the US, and then 
attempted to shoot US soldiers? Or was she, as 
her family, and most people in Pakistan have 
always maintained, seized by Pakistani agents for reasons unknown?

Now new evidence of the kidnapping of Dr Siddiqui 
prises open part of one of the most shocking of 
the myriad individual stories of injustice in the 
war on terror. It also underlines the 
recklessness and perfidy of a key United States’ 
partner in the war on terror, which carries its own threat of explosion.

Dr Siddiqui was sentenced in a New York court 
last year to 86 years for attempted murder of US 
soldiers in Afghanistan. Her mysterious five-year 
disappearance before that, her reappearance in 
Afghanistan in 2008, her subsequent trial in the 
US, and the confusion surrounding all these 
events, have made Dr Siddiqui’s a symbolic case 
in much of the Muslim world. Now a senior law 
enforcement officer has claimed to have been 
involved personally on the day she was seized, 
with her three children, by Pakistani police 
agents in Karachi in March 2003 and handed over 
to the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI.

The FBI put out a “wanted for questioning” alert 
for Dr Siddiqui just before she disappeared. She 
was later high on the US wanted list, with the US 
claiming that she was living undercover as an Al 
Qaeda agent. She was a "clear and present danger 
to the US", the then-U.S. Attorney General John 
Ashcroft said in 2004. For all these years the 
Pakistani government repeatedly denied holding 
her, and after her arrest in Afghanistan in 2008 
spent $2 million on US lawyers for her trial. 
After her conviction, the Pakistani Prime 
Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, committed himself to 
work for her return from a US prison. Dr Siddiqui 
had become, “the daughter of the nation” and the 
centre of a popular cause he could not afford to ignore.

The new evidence, on a secretly recorded audio 
tape, is a potential earthquake in the 
chronically unstable political situation in 
Pakistan, where rage against the US runs deep and 
wide, especially as civilian casualties mount 
with the use of drone aircraft. Already the case 
of Aafia Siddiqui has periodically brought tens 
of thousands of people out on the streets in the 
last two and a half years in protest at what has 
been done to her by the United States’ military 
and legal systems since she reemerged, in US 
custody and seriously wounded, in 2008.  The 
Pakistani media have always claimed that the ISI 
was responsible for her disappearance and that 
the Americans were involved too. The tape reopens 
the whole question, not just of Dr Siddiqui, but 
of the corroding effect of the US alliance with 
Pakistan’s military and intelligence elite in a 
war on terror which has had so many Pakistani 
victims. The ISI has run its own agendas, hand in 
glove with various US officials at various 
periods, ever since the war against the Soviets 
in Afghanistan, and then becoming godfathers of 
various Afghan factions tearing that country 
apart. There are plenty of astute Pakistani 
journalists with the language skills to use this 
tape to the utmost to embarrass their own security services and the government.

For the US too there are questions to answer 
about the extensive cover-up of what happened to 
Dr Siddiqui and her three children  - two of whom 
are US citizens, and appear to have spent five 
traumatized years separated from their mother and 
from each other, in various prisons. It is 
scarcely credible that high officials in the Bush 
and Obama administrations over the years were 
unaware of what their troublesome allies in 
Pakistan had done with her and her children.

On April 21 2003, a “senior U.S. law enforcement 
official” told Lisa Myers of NBC Nightly News 
that Siddiqui was in Pakistani custody. The same 
source retracted the statement the next day 
without explanation. “At the time,” Myers told 
Harpers Magazine, “we thought there was a 
possibility perhaps he’d spoken out of turn.”

According to the Associated Press, “[t]wo federal 
law enforcement officials, speaking on condition 
of anonymity, initially said 31-year-old Aafia 
Siddiqui recently was taken into custody by 
Pakistani authorities.” But later, “the U.S. 
officials amended their earlier statements, 
saying new information from the Pakistani 
government made it ‘doubtful’ she was in custody.”

An FBI spokesperson also formally denied that the 
agency had any knowledge of Dr. Siddiqui’s 
whereabouts, stating that the FBI was not aware 
that she was in any nation’s custody.

Dr Siddiqui’s mother was visited by an unknown 
man a few hours after her disappearance and 
warned to keep her mouth shut if she ever wanted 
to see her daughter and grandchildren again. In 
2003, in a closed hearing when the FBI had 
subpoenaed some documents from Dr Siddiqui’s 
sister, an FBI official confirmed to her family 
that she was alive and well, but would answer no questions on her whereabouts.

The new audio evidence was secretly taped in a 
social situation last year; children can be heard 
in the background. It was given, unsolicited, to 
one of the many lawyers involved in Dr Siddiqui’s 
case in the US. The source, whose identity has 
been protected, told lawyers at the International 
Justice Network that he had made the tape after a 
social evening when he had heard shocking things 
about Pakistani counter terrorism, about the 
fabrication of evidence, and about Dr Siddiqui’s 
disappearance, discussed casually by a senior 
official. He felt outraged and returned for a 
second evening with a recorder and got some of 
the previous discussion repeated. “If it can help 
anyone I had to do it,” he said to the IJN 
Executive Director Tina Foster who has 
represented Dr Siddiqui’s family since January 
2010. IJN are experienced hands in war on terror 
cases. They represent a number of prisoners in 
Bagram air base prison in Afghanistan, some of 
them rendered from Abu Ghraib, Dubai and Thailand 
by the CIA, as well as several disappeared people in Pakistan.)

The witness is a Pakistani/American and he has 
been extensively interviewed by IJN’s lawyers who 
tell me they are entirely  confident of the 
tape’s authenticity, the source’s account and 
thus the identity of the prime subject.

IJN’s source says he was introduced by a mutual 
friend whose home he was visiting, to a man he 
identified to lawyers at International Justice 
Network as  Imran Shaukat, the Superintendent of Police for Sindh province.

A full report, and the four hour tape, in Urdu, 
Punjabi and English, is being released by the 
International Justice Network in the United 
States at 6am EDT Monday, and can be  accessed 
with the permission of the witness. Portions of 
the tape concerning Dr Siddiqui were made 
available to this reporter  and were 
independently translated for this article. As of 
midnight Sunday, EDT, this excerpt can be 
listened to <http://ijnetwork.org/report/IJNetworkTape.WAV>here.

Mr Shaukat (who is voice 2 on the tape) says, “I 
am stationed in Karachi. I head the counter 
terrorism department for Sindh province.”

In the key passage in the tape for the Siddiqui case he is asked by:

Voice 1 (who is the witness) ”Did you arrest her?”

V 2. “Yes, I arrested her. She wore glasses and a 
.. When she was caught she was travelling to 
.She was hobnobbing with clerics. 

V 1 “ So what happened after the arrest. Did ISI ask for her custody?”

V 2 “Yes, we gave her to ISI”

V 1 “ISI or something else?”

V 2  “ISI, so we gave her to them.”

Mr Shaukat also describes her as “stick thin” and 
“a psycho”, and, elsewhere as “not a handler, a 
minor facilitator” – presumably for Al Qaeda - 
and he mentions a connection to Osama Bin Laden. 
Asked then why couldn’t she help them get Bin 
Laden, he replies, “Well, they are not fools. 
They wouldn’t inform her of their forwarding 
address.” And he says too about the children, “we 
took them with us. They were American nationals, 
children are American nationals, they were all born there.”

There is some discussion on the tape about the 
return of her daughter, Maryam. (Two unidentified voices are also heard.)

V1:             Oh, another thing.  They found her   daughter yesterday.

V2:             She’s home already.

V1:       Yes, she’s home.  She speaks English 
only.  She was in the prison.  She is seven or 
eight years old. And she only speaks English.

UM1:         Eight years old?

V1:       Yeah.   Children were in prison and 
they spoke to them in American English.

UM1:             Is she home?

V1:             Yeah.  They got her home.

V2:             They were actually, I.

V1:             Really?

V2:             It’s five or six months.

UM2:             Is she in Karachi?

V1:             She got home today, yesterday.

V2:             Well, it goes back to before I came here.

V1:             I read the news just yesterday, today.  Maybe, in the night.

V2:             It’s two or three-months old.

All that has been reported in the public domain 
to date is that Maryam was returned a day or two 
before the recording. But, according to the 
childrens’ lawyer, Tina Foster, Mr Shaukat’s 
description is consistent with how Maryam was repatriated to Pakistan.

Elsewhere in the tape Imran Shaukat talks about 
how the Pakistani police and ISI work to 
“disappear” or to use people they have taken into 
custody. According to Amina Masood Janjua at 
Defence for Human Rights, there are currently 
about 500 people who have disappeared in Pakistan 
as part of the “war on terror” –  this does not 
include Sindhi and Balochi separatists. Part of 
the audio describes the doctoring or 
manufacturing of documents, creating false 
identities, using body doubles, with reference to 
various terrorist attacks, including Mumbai. 
“This is a game of double dealing, direct them 
right and exit left,” Mr Shaukat says at one point.

Such details are an explanation of the 
extraordinary litany of contradictory stories 
about Dr Siddiqui, including curious reported 
sightings by family members, that were launched 
into the public domain over the five years after 
her disappearance. In this John Le Carre world of 
ruthless manipulation of the vulnerable it is 
impossible to know how, or whether, she could 
have been used in counter terrorism’s goal at the 
time of finding Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.

 From other sources it has been established that 
Dr Siddiqui was separated from her children for 
the five years of her ordeal, and that the two 
older children, born in 1996 and 1998, were not 
together, but in separate prisons, and that the 
third child, Suleman who was six months old on 
the day of the disappearance, probably died then.

For nearly eight years now, manufactured 
confusion has surrounded the disappearance and 
the subsequent whereabouts of Dr Siddiqui and her three children.

The confusion only deepened with the second 
section of the story, which was her mysterious 
reappearance in 2008 in Afghanistan, and the 
bizarre circumstances of her being seriously 
wounded by two shots to the stomach by a US 
soldier.  John Kiriakou, a retired CIA officer 
with extensive background in Al Qaeda- related 
work told ABC News, “I don’t think we’ve captured 
anybody as important and as well connected as she 
since 2003. We knew that she had been planning, 
or at least involved in the planning of, a wide 
variety of different operations.” Such statements 
set the tone for the Western media on her return under arrest to the US.

Her subsequent trial in New York, ending with the 
86 year sentence, is the third section, when, 
extraordinarily, Al Qaeda and terrorism were not 
made part of the case against her which was 
narrowly focussed on the alleged attempted murder incident.

Dr Siddiqui’s background was an unexceptional one 
of a highly educated young woman from a 
privileged, professional family, some of them 
settled in the US and most of them educated in 
the West. She spent a decade studying at 
universities in Texas, and at MIT  - where she 
graduated in biology summa cum laude - and at 
Brandeis, where she took a PHD in cognitive 
neuroscience. She specialized in the science of 
how children learn, and in addition had a class 
teaching dyslexic children. Besides her academic 
work she lived a busy life in the Muslim 
community in Boston, attending cake sales and 
auctions to raise money for Muslim refugees in 
the Bosnian war. She was married to a doctor from 
Pakistan in a classic arranged ceremony conducted 
by phone. The couple had two children.

Life in Boston soured when her marriage began to 
break down. There are reports from her professors 
in Boston that they saw her with bruises on her 
face. And her husband, Dr Amjad Khan, told 
Harpers Magazine reporter Petra Bartosiewicz in 
2008 that his wife had once had to go to hospital 
after he threw a bottle at her. There are 
photographs of her with a deep cut across her 
face. She returned home to Pakistan in late 2001. 
In a brief reconciliation back in the US a few 
months later she became pregnant with her third 
child. On August 15, 2002, after an incident in 
which witnesses claim that Dr Khan pushed him, 
Dr. Siddiqui’s father collapsed and died of a 
heart attack. A few days later, while Dr. 
Siddiqui was still pregnant with their youngest 
child, Suleman, Amjad Khan separated from her and 
immediately married again. Dr Khan gave custody 
of the children to Dr Siddiqui on condition they 
received an exclusively Islamic education

Dr Khan came under FBI suspicion in May 2002 for 
various items purchased by him on the internet 
when the couple were living in Boston. He said 
they were for big game hunting, and he was not 
arrested, but both he and his wife had come under suspicion.

In March, 2003, a global alert went out with both 
of them wanted for questioning by the FBI. A few 
weeks after Aafia Siddiqui disappeared, her 
husband had a four-hour interview with US and 
Pakistani agents, and US suspicions of  Dr Khan 
were dropped. About two months later Dr Khan 
travelled to Saudi Arabia for some time.

Dr Khan told Harpers Magazine – 
Intelligence factory – how America makes its 
enemies disappear”, by CounterPunch contributor 
Petra Bartosiewicz - that his “contacts in the 
agencies” informed him then that Siddiqui had 
gone underground. He went on to say that he had 
no idea where his children were ­a claim he would 
later contradict. He also told Harpers that he 
and his driver saw Siddiqui in a taxi in Karachi 
in 2005. But they did not follow her. After her 
arrest in 2008 Mr Khan told a reporter from the 
Pakistani daily News that he thought his former 
wife was an “extremist” and that of course she 
had been on the run. After Ms Bartosiewicz left 
Pakistan, she had an email from Dr Khan saying 
that he had received “confidential good news” 
from the ISI that Mariam and Suleman were “alive 
and well” with their aunt Fowzia. (In fact at 
that point one was in prison and the other was dead.)

Dr Siddiqui’s disappearance in March 2003 came 
amid a feverish whirl of arrests and 
disappearances in Pakistan, including Khaled 
Sheikh Mohammad, who has claimed to have been the 
master mind of 9/11, and many other Al Qaeda 
related attacks, and  has been named as the 
killer of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. 
Khaled Sheikh Mohammad was important enough to 
the Americans to be water-boarded 183 times. 
Shortly after Dr Siddiqui’s disappearance, Khaled 
Sheikh Mohammad’s nephew, Ammar Baluchi, was 
arrested in connection with 9/11. The two men 
were taken to Guantanamo Bay, then to various 
CIA-run secret prisons known as “black sites” for 
torture, before being returned to Guantanamo Bay.

US officials then had Dr Siddiqui on an Al Qaeda 
“wanted” list and linked her to Baluchi, claiming 
he was her second husband. Her family, and other 
sources in Pakistan have denied the marriage, but 
it remains probably the most repeated detail 
about her and the one that has given her an 
indelible image as a terrorist. This was not the 
only lurid story about her – she was also alleged 
in a UN report to have been a courier of blood 
diamonds from Liberia for Al Qaeda with a 
sighting reported there in June, 2001. Her 
lawyer, Elaine Sharp stated that Dr Siddiqui had 
been in Boston at that time and she could prove 
it. That story died away, but the further damage to her reputation was done.

For five years nothing sure was in the public 
domain about what happened to her and the 
children, though the rumours grew, turning her 
into a tragic martyr for many, or a poster for Al 
Qaeda ruthlessness for others . Several former 
detainees at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan 
claimed to have seen her there, while US 
officials quoted in Wilileaks denied she had been.

A senior Pakistani journalist, Najeed Ahmed, 
followed the story for five years and reported 
witness testimony of someone who claimed to have 
been part of the arresting team, which he said 
was a joint operation with the FBI. (Mr Ahmed 
made a public statement about his research in 
2009, but died the next day, reportedly of a heart attack.)

In mid-July 2008 Pakistanti lawyers filed a 
habeas corpus for Dr Siddiqui in Islamabad. And 
within days, in Act 2 of the drama, Aafia 
Siddiqui  reappeared, in Ghazni, in Afghanistan, 
allegedly carrying in her handbag chemicals, 
instructions for making biological weapons, and 
plans for terrorist strikes with mass casualties 
in the US. She was then involved in a shooting 
incident in a police station in Ghazni in which 
she was badly wounded by a US soldier. It is 
uncontested that she was seated behind a curtain 
in a small room, where, according to the US 
soldiers, one of them put down his gun and she 
came from behind the curtain, seized it and 
attempted to shoot. She says she merely looked 
round the curtain. None of the soldiers or FBI 
personnel present were hurt, but she was 
hospitalized with two shots in her abdomen and brought under arrest to the US.

Act 3 was her trial in New York for attempted 
murder of soldiers and FBI agents with an M4 
rifle, picked up from the floor near a US 
soldier. There were no charges of terrorism or Al Qaeda links.

Dr Siddiqui had a tangle of high-flying legal 
teams, several of whom were not on good terms. 
Her first court appointed lawyer, Liz Fink, a 
famous New York political lawyer, withdrew, and 
the second team appointed by the court, was 
headed by Dawn Cardi, an expert in matrimonial 
and family law. The lawyers funded by the 
Pakistani government were led by Linda Moreno, an 
attorney with successful experiences in two high 
profile war on terror related cases, those of 
Professor Sami Al-Arian and Ghassan Elashi, and 
who is a Guantanamo Bay defence lawyer with 
security clearance. Ms Moreno is also known for 
earlier political work as one of the lawyers for 
the American Indian Movement leader Leonard 
Peltier. Her team included Charles Swift, 
formerly a military defender of Guantanamo 
detainees who made a reputation as a critic of 
the Military Commission system, and Elaine Sharp.

Even the narrow grounds of the case on the 
shooting was full of curiosities and 
contradictions: there was no physical evidence on 
the gun of Dr Siddiqui having held it, no bullet 
casings from it or holes in the walls of the 
small room where it took place, except from the 
other gun which wounded her. Defence counsel made 
two visits to Afghanistan to get the forensic 
evidence, which could, and should, have got the 
whole case dismissed. Linda Moreno described the 
defence forensic case as “very compelling, with 
no physical evidence whatsoever that she ever 
touched the gun
.no DNA, no fingerprints, no 
bullets recovered, no bullet holes.” The military 
and FBI witnesses, Ms Moreno said, contradicted 
each other, and under cross-examination even 
contradicted their own earlier stories. She went 
on to say that “the government wanted to scare 
the jury with stories of her alleged terrorist 
past, and steered away from the actual case.”

One key piece of evidence was not in the trial 
and only emerged from Wikileaks, which revealed a 
Defense Department report that was not released 
by the military, so was unavailable as evidence 
in Dr Siddiqui’s defence. The incident report 
does not say Dr Siddiqui fired the gun she is 
alleged to have snatched and fired, merely that 
she "pointed" it. “Six American soldiers took the 
stand – powerful testimony for a jury. I argued, 
what happened at the front, stays at the front. 
The Wikileaks document would have added to my 
argument about the dubious credibility of the soldiers,” Ms Moreno told me.

Dr Siddiqui’s relations with her lawyers were 
impossibly difficult and she tried repeatedly to 
fire them. Most never saw her except in court. 
Linda Moreno told me,  “She was clearly damaged – 
extraordinarily frail, very tiny. It broke my 
heart when Aafia did not trust anyone, me, the 
other lawyers

although I could understand it. 
She reminded me of American/Indian resisters I 
worked with way back

. her resistance was 
clearly to the legal process and she saw all the 
attorneys as part of that process.”

Against the lawyers’ strongest advice, Dr 
Siddiqui spoke in court herself. She said that 
she had been tortured, and rendered to the US, 
and that her children were also tortured in “the 
secret prison”. The government never rebutted 
these allegations. But she lost the jury, who 
looked openly sceptical. “Sadly, she came over as 
sometimes arrogant and capricious, and sometimes 
rambling” according to Ms Moreno. Another 
observer said, “she was very articulate, 
intelligent, well-spoken, and people mistook that for well functioning.”

With so much confected fear and prejudice against 
her going back years, a media that did not hold 
back in its characterization of her as Al Qaeda 
Mommy, and the impact of six soldiers testifying 
against her, a New York jury’s guilty verdict was 
probably a foregone conclusion. But Judge 
Berman’s sentence that would put her away for 
life, was not. Ms Moreno described the event, “in 
my 30 years of trials I have never seen anything 
like what happened on sentencing day – the judge 
walked into court and handed out pre-printed 
power point presentations on how he had come to decide on 86 years


Two veteran lawyers not connected with this case, 
but with extensive experience in other cases 
related to the war on terror, described the 
sentence, respectively, as “extraordinary”, 
.. outrageous”, and one described the 
case as “absolutely full of holes.” An appeal is planned.

Meanwhile part of the story of the missing five 
years is in the heads of two of her three 
children  - the two older ones who are US 
citizens. When they emerged – separately - in 
Pakistan, they were reunited with Dr Siddiqui’s 
mother, and her sister , Fowzia, who is a 
Harvard-trained child psychiatrist and 
neurologist, in Karachi. They have never told 
their stories, but even the little that is known 
hints at the horror this family has lived through.

The older one, Ahmed, then aged 12, told his aunt 
that he only met his mother the day after she was 
picked up in Ghazni, and that he did not 
recognize her after five years apart.  Fuzzy film 
footage of them together being questioned in a 
press conference the day after his mother was 
found, has long circulated on the internet. This 
was the morning before the shooting incident.

Ahmed remembers nothing about what happened to 
him next, only that he was visited by a US 
consular official in Afghanistan who told him 
that he was a US citizen. The official also told 
him that his brother, Suleman, was dead.

Ahmed remembers being taken out of the taxi where 
he was with his mother and siblings five years 
before, and remembers, before he lost 
consciousness, seeing the baby, six month old 
Suleman, lying in the road and bleeding. Ahmed, 
told his aunt that he had been called Ali, and 
several other different names, while he was in 
custody, and that when he was told his name now 
was Ahmed, he knew that meant he was going to be 
moved again. She initially reported that he was 
suffering from PTSD and that he needed extensive psychological help.

His sister Maryam, reappeared nearly two years 
later, in April 2010. She spoke perfect English 
with an American accent and no Urdu. She was 
simply dropped off outside the family home in 
Karachi with a note on a string around her neck. 
At some stage the Afghan prime minister Hamid 
Karzai was contacted by the family for help in getting both children back.

There are very powerful vested interests that 
have worked to prevent Dr Siddiqui from ever 
giving an account that would be believed of what 
happened to her. The same interests are still at 
work trying to prevent the two children from ever 
becoming witnesses in this backstory of the war 
on terror. Late last year a kidnap attempt was 
made on the children, despite the family home 
being guarded by armed Pakistani police 24 hours 
a day. Two men, carrying firearms and holding big 
sacks, were found behind the door of the 
children’s bedroom by their grandmother. The men 
ran off when she screamed, and were driven away 
by a waiting car nearby, before the police guards 
to the house could catch them.

The release of the tape gives a lever to 
Pakistani public opinion and Pakistani opposition 
politicians such as Imran Khan, who have long 
supported the family, towards forcing an end to 
this sinister ordeal, with the return home of Dr Siddiqui.

And there is another lever just now. Tina Foster 
of IJN has written to the Interior Minister Mr 
Rehman Malik, reminding him that in over a year 
of meetings he has been promising to help in Dr 
Siddiqui’s repatriation. The letter says that 
now, when the US is demanding the return of the 
US government employee Raymond Davis, held after 
a shooting incident in Pakistan in which he is 
alleged to have killed two men, is the 
government’s best ever chance to negotiate an 
exchange. The new threat by some congressmen to 
withhold aid from Pakistan if he is not returned, 
Hilary Clinton cancelling a meeting with 
Pakistan’s foreign minister, and the report of 
possible espionage charges against Davis, ratchet 
up a pressure that could change the prospects for Dr Siddiqui.

Whether Dr Siddiqui will ever be able to tell the 
full story of what happened to her over five 
years is another question. It is hard to imagine 
making anything close a recovery from such 
multiple personal and family trauma, in which she 
was isolated from every solid link with her past 
identity. Did the ISI use her, or her identity, 
on errands to Al Qaeda? “A minor facilitator”, as 
the tape calls her? The contradictions in her own 
reported words, such as allegedly telling FBI 
agents while she was in a military hospital shot 
through the stomach and in restraints, that she 
was indeed married to the notorious Khaled Sheikh 
Mohammad’s nephew Baluchi, are manifold, but not any guide to the truth.

In her initial weeks in a US prison in Brooklyn 
she exhibited deeply disturbed behaviour such as 
saying she was saving her food for her children. 
Her mental state has since deteriorated and is 
very unpredictable, according to lawyer Elaine 
Sharp who has visited her several times. She is 
now incarcerated in solitary confinement in the 
Carswell Federal Medical Centre at Fort Worth, 
Texas, the only US prison medical facility for 
women. She has no contact with the outside world. 
Three of the four prison psychiatrists who 
interviewed her for the court said they believed 
she was “malingering” and that her mental illness 
was faked. But, given the record of some doctors’ 
contribution to government work in the war on 
terror, it is hard to find this persuasive in the 
face of the known facts of her separation from 
her children in traumatic circumstances, her long 
isolation, and the documented brutal procedures of the ISI in many other cases.

In the US none of the lawyers, doctors, 
politicians and intelligence agents who devised 
and participated in the horrors done to so many 
individuals as part of the war on terror, have 
paid any price in public for it. But in this case 
there is the force of  public opinion in Pakistan 
which will demand nothing less than public trials 
of those responsible for ordering Dr Siddiqui’s 
kidnapping, as well as those who carried it out, 
and were part of the vast charade that has been 
played with her over those years.

Victoria Brittain is a former associate foreign 
editor of the Guardian. Her books include 
Lives, Hidden Deaths and 
of Dignity. She has spent much of her working 
life in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She can 
be reached at <mailto:victoriacatherine at yahoo.com>victoriacatherine at yahoo.com

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