Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Injustice - by Stephen Lendman
On February 3, a Department of Justice press release headlined "Aafia Siddiqui Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Attempting to Murder US Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Charges."
At her scheduled May 6 sentencing, she "faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the attempted murder and armed assault charges; life in prison on the firearms charge; and eight years in prison on each of the remaining assault charges. SIDDIQUI faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison on the firearms charge."
On February 3, New York Times writer CJ Hughes headlined: "Pakistani Scientist Found Guilty of Shootings," convicting her on all seven counts, including attempted murder - "capping a trial that drew notice for its terrorist implications as well as its theatrics," but omitting convincing evidence of Siddiqui's innocence. Instead, Hughes said she was arrested with "instructions (in her purse) on making explosives and a list of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building." Her defense team acknowledged their existence, but Siddiqui denied packing them or knowing of their origin. She later suggested she copied them from a magazine, planned no terrorist acts, nor did her indictment claim them.
Hughes also said she "raised suspicions when she and her three children vanished in Pakistan in 2003." She didn't vanish. Her mother said she "left the family home in Gulshan-e-lqbal in a taxi on March 30, 2003 to catch a flight for Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport." Pakistani intelligence agents abducted her, turned her over to US authorities, after which her long ordeal of secret imprisonment, interrogations, and years of brutalizing torture began, even though she wasn't charged.
Her son Mohammed was later released on condition he say nothing. Her other two children, Maryam and Suleman, disappeared and may have been killed.
In May 2004, Pakistan's Interior Minister confirmed she was turned over to US authorities in 2003 after no link between her and Al Qaeda was established. In 2006, Amnesty International called her one of many of the "disappeared" in America's "war on terror." In 2007, a Ghost Prisoner Human Rights Watch report suggested she was held in secret CIA detention.
In February 2008, the Asian Human Rights Commission said she was brought to Karachi and severely tortured to secure her compliance as a government witness against Khalid Shiekh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, related to Siddiqui through marriage to his nephew. He reportedly "gave her up" after capture on March 1, 2003, after which she and her children disappeared.
The charges were bogus and outrageous. Yet, on September 2, 2008, the Justice Department (DOJ) indicted her "on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States nationals and officers and employees." According to Michael Garcia, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (in his same day press release):
On July 18, 2008, "a team of United States servicemen and law enforcement officers, and others assisting them, attempted to interview Aafia Siddiqui in Ghazni, Aghanistan, where she had been detained by local police the day before....unbeknownst to the United States interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain -- Siddiqui obtained one of the United States Army's M-4 rifles and attempted to fire it, and did fire it, at another United States Army officer and other members of the United States interview team....Siddiqui then assaualted one of the United States Army interpreters, as he attempted to obtain the M-4 rifle from her. Siddiqui subsequently assaulted one of the FBI agents and one of the United States Army officers, as they attempted to subdue her."
Left unexplained was how this frail, weak, 110-pound woman, confronted by three US Army officers, two FBI agents, and two Army interpreters, inexplicably managed to assault three of them, get one of their rifles, open fire at close range, hit no one, and only she was severely wounded.
According to her attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp:
"how did this happen? And how did she get shot? I think you can answer that, can't you (and question the outrageous charges against her)?"
During proceedings, another defense lawyer, Linda Moreno, said no forensic evidence proved the rifle Siddiqui allegedly used had been fired since no bullets, shell casings, or bullet debris were recovered and no bullet holes detected.
Garcia didn't explain, nor about her abduction, torture and repeated raping at Bagram prison, Afghanistan where, as Prisoner 650, she was called the "Gray Lady of Bagram" because her screams were heard for years. Nor did he discuss her physical and emotional destruction. She was a pawn in America's "war on terror," used, abused, now convicted, and facing life in prison when sentenced, a victim of gross injustice.