Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: victim of American 'justice'
Aafia Siddiqui was branded number one woman terrorist by the US administration. Incarcerated, tortured and abused for 5 years, has never been tried for any terrorist offenses. Nevertheless, she now awaits a long prison sentence to be handed out by a United States 'court'.
By Carol Turner
Stop the War Coalition
9 September 2010
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, tortured in Afghanistan and US Custody
A US court is about to pronounce sentence on Dr Aafia Siddiqui, convicted in February of 'attempting to murder US nationals in Afghanistan'. She now faces a minimum of 20 years in jail.
No credible evidence was presented. Her attorney described the verdict as 'based on fear, not fact'. Dr Siddiqui, a neuro-scientist who trained in the United States, is described as quiet, shy and deeply religious by those who knew her.
The US branded her a high security risk, with alleged Al-Qaeda connections and linked to terrorist attacks on New York. None of these accusations appeared in her indictment. She has never been charged with terrorism-related offenses.
Siddiqui herself was severely wounded in March 2003 when she and her three children were abducted by Pakistani intelligence agents after visiting her family in Karachi. She was secretly taken to Bagram prison, Afghanistan. During five years of torture and abuse, the US never admitted to holding her.
Other detainees have identified her as the 'Grey Lady of Bagram'. Prisoner 650, the only woman in Bagram, was named as Dr Aafia Siddiqui by Binyam Mohamed. In a documentary, journalist Yvonne Ridley describes the 'haunting sobs and piercing screams' which so concerned male prisoners that they held a six day hunger strike in 2005.
Siddiqui turned up in Afghanistan in 2008 and was arrested, which is when she allegedly fired on US officials. At her trial earlier this year, the testimony of eyewitnesses contradicted each other. No forensic or other evidence of her alleged gun attack was produced.
Her eldest son Ahmed was released in 2008, having spent time in the custody of the Afghan Intelligence Agency. In April 2010 a girl subsequently confirmed to be Siddiqui's daughter Maryam turned up in Karachi. But the whereabouts and welfare of her youngest son Suleman remain a mystery.
Little is known about what her children endured. At her trial, Aafia referred to 'secret prisons' where people 'see their children tortured in front of them'.
The Justice for Aafia Coalition has launched a campaign to trace Suleman. Details can be found on their web site at www.justiceforaafia.org.
This family abduction and the torture and abuse of Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a stain on international justice and human rights.