Contact: Tina M. Foster, (917) 442-9580, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 13, 2014, New York, NY.
The Law Office of Tina Foster today announced that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has filed a legal case seeking to overturn her September 23, 2010 conviction by a U.S. federal court. Though Dr. Siddiqui has always maintained her innocence and there was no physical evidence to support the charges against her, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted of attempted murder while she was being interrogated by U.S. personnel at a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan. In documents filed today under seal in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Dr. Siddiqui argues that her conviction and sentence should be vacated because the prosecution withheld crucial evidence, and that she was denied her constitutional right to counsel.
The case argues that the U.S. government illegally withheld evidence that Dr. Siddiqui and her three small children were abducted from Karachi, Pakistan in 2003 and secretly detained, interrogated and tortured in U.S. and Pakistani custody for five years prior to her arrest in 2008. Among other evidence, exhibits filed with the case include a transcript of an audio recording in which a senior Pakistani police official, Imran Shaukat, admits to his involvement in Dr. Siddiqui’s abduction from Karachi, Pakistan in March 2003. A link to the full audio recording in Urdu/Punjabi is available at the following URL:
Dr. Siddiqui also argues that she was denied her right to counsel because the judge forced her to be represented by attorneys that were not acting in her interest. The attorneys, who were paid $2 million by the Government of Pakistan, were permitted to enter the case and manage Dr. Siddiqui’s defense over her repeated objections. Though Dr. Siddiqui informed her trial attorneys that she had been in detention from 2003-2008, they did not present the information to the judge or jury at trial.
Dr. Siddiqui is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence at a U.S. federal prison at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, TX. She is unable to speak with the media due to prison restrictions, but is presently represented by attorneys Tina Foster and Robert Boyle, both of whom stand in solidarity with the international community in condemning Dr. Siddiqui’s unfair trial and sentence.
“The evidence presented in today’s lawsuit demonstrates not only that Dr. Siddiqui did not receive a fair trial and was wrongfully convicted, but also sheds a bright light on the violations of Dr. Siddiqui’s fundamental human rights by the governments of the United States and Pakistan,” says Foster. “Despite the grotesque torture and abuse perpetrated against Dr. Siddiqui and her children, she has never advocated violence or revenge,” Foster added, “she wishes nothing more than to return to Pakistan where she can be reunited with her children and live in peace.”
Below is a rare video of Dr. Aafia Siddiqi, recorded in 1991 in Houston.
Lady of this physique is facing 86 years sentence in USA jail for snatching gun from more than one USA marine soldiers during her arrest in Afghanistan. In the process she left no finger print on the gun (as accepted by FBI official) and got shot herself.
The main allegations on her for which she was abducted (or at least CIA/ISI/FBI spread these allegations through their pets in media) were never presented in the court as they didn’t have presentable evidence. These allegations were:
1- Links with Al-Qaida
2-Invovlvement in activities like Blood Diamonds
After looking at Brian Banks case, one can easily see how much jury can be influenced by alien appearance of the person presented in front of them. Even for many Pakistani pseudo liberals or social class fascists, her head scarf and affection with religion are enough to declare her terrorist.
In Brian Banks story, he was made to go for no-contest in an allegation of rape to face less sentence as opposed to 41 years imprisonment. According to recent evidence he didn’t commit the rape. He had to go for no-contest because his lawyer suggested that if he goes for contesting the case, the jury will see him as a big black guy and will be automatically considered as guilty.
For Brian Banks story, visit the link below :
By Faisal Rahman
General (R) Pervez Musharraf, has launched his political party recently in London. Pakistan’s politics is amazing, a dictator who was all in all in his time and used to stop people from taking part in politics or coming back in the country is now forced to restart his politics from abroad.
Public opinion is divided in Pakistan over the comeback of Musharraf. It will surely not be an easy ride for him in politics. Arrival and stay in country will not be an easy task for the former dictator.
First and the biggest hurdle that will haunt him is 3rd November. It is something over which many sections of society, regardless of their social class and political affiliations, oppose him. 3rd November issue is not only related to the suspension of constitution and illegal sacking of the judiciary, but it also connects to several human rights violations to crush the lawyers movement, media and civil society.
Lal-Masjid operation, extra-judicial killings in Baluchistan, allowing US drone and missile attacks in Pakistan, NATO supplies and troops in tribal areas have put Pakistan into a real mess. The damage he did is so severe that even after two years we are facing the deadly impact. The violations of human rights in his tenure are probably worst in the history of Pakistan. Issues of missing people, particularly Dr. Aafia Siddiqi, will surely haunt him when he comes back.
The post 9/11 policies, which were mainly adapted to give legitimacy to Musharraf’s dictatorship in the eyes of world powers, have caused more than 40 billion dollars direct economic losses to Pakistan, according to government’s own sources. In Musharraf’s tenure, the real areas of economy such as agriculture , technology manufacturing and energy were not focused upon. As a result, we are undergoing food and worst energy crisis ever.
Some impression of stability was created through fictitious economy based on banking, real estate and telecom sector, which eventually resulted in the flight of capital and currency devaluation. This short sighted approach may have got him some political support, but for the country, the approach proved to be destructive in the long run. In fact, the economic bubble burst during the last days of his tenure.
Kashmir is another issue on which Musharraf needs to be questioned. According to APHC leaders, Musharraf damaged the Kashmir cause by sidelining the issue. The main leader from APHC, Syed Ali Shah Gillani, also accused Musharraf for the split of APHC. Keeping eyes close on India’s violations of Indus Water Treaty and letting India build dams was criminal negligence. His mishandling of Dr. AQ Khan’s issue and insulting the national hero will also not be forgiven by Pakistanis.
People including me often criticize the current setup, but we also need to see the cause of this mess i.e. NRO. We shouldn’t only see the ugly dry branches of the dead tree but also need to see who is responsible for the hot water going into roots.
Musharraf’s arrival is very important for Pakistan, as we need answers for many crimes he did against the nation. His arrival is important for strengthening rule of law as it will give chance to trial him for his unconstitutional actions. I am sure if people in NWFP and Baluchistan get a chance to file cases against him in the courts for his crimes against humanity, it will help in calming down the situation in many parts of our country. It will give a chance for Army to restore its image in the eyes of many, who have grievances against the national institution due to the policies by former dictators.
Musharraf’s arrival will also be a big test for our civil society, media and the Pakistani nation as a whole. It will give us a chance to set precedence of indiscriminate justice and rule of law. I hope we will take the right decisions without falling to our prejudices and greed.
Mina sent a really good poem for Dr. Aafia Siddiqi in the comment area of our post:
kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke
vo ekk guriya marmarri
apne hi mulk se hai biqqiiii
or lutt rahai hai gharri ghari
vo is watan ki beeti hai
or us watan ki bandhani
vo asmaan ko takti rehti hai
khuda ko dhoondti rehti hai
kiya mojze ajj bhi hote hain
kiya farishte ajj bhi hote hain
koi aa ke bachay lee mujh ko abb
Pakistani to gheerat per marte hain ,
kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke
betiyaan to sanjhi hoti thein
ab to jiss ki beeti hai
bass usi ki beeti hai
baqqi to sabb lutere hain
joo noch noch kar khate hain
jane qayamat kabb aye gi
shayed jabb Afia marr jaye gii……………
Saturday, 24 October 2009 11:22
The Pakistan Government has been ordered to secure the release of scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from US custody.
Originally published in Pakistan, By Yvonne Ridley
The Islamabad High Court made the ground-breaking directive in a move welcomed by her family, supporters and anyone who wants to see justice delivered to a woman who has been trapped in a hellish existence for the last six years.
However, not everyone is happy that Justice Raja Saeed Akram has ordered the government to work towards bringing Aafia home.
As I discovered a few days ago during a visit to Pakistan it seems her ex-husband Dr. Muhammad Amjad Khan has been briefing against the mother of his three children.
In an exclusive interview given to Karachi journalist Aroosa Masroor at The News, Dr. Khan said that most claims about Aafia, propagated to garner public support and sympathy, are untrue.
Why he chose to break his silence after six years is not immediately obvious … unless you buy in to the crazy theory that he was instrumental in his wife’s arrest and disappearance.
Of course it would be outrageous and defamatory to suggest Dr. Khan was involved and I certainly have no evidence to suggest otherwise, but what intrigues me is why this man would want to try and deliberately mislead the public as he did in his first on-the-record interview.
I am not sure what are his motives but, in a conference I gave at the Islamabad National Press Club this week I threw out a challenge to Dr. Khan to either put up or shut up.
In his February 18 interview he said: “Aafia’s release cannot be secured by propagating stories based on falsehood and deception,” and then he went on to tell a lie so blatant that I can no longer remain silent, and here’s why.
He reckons that the iconic photograph of Aafia, slumped to one side with eyes closed, was a stunted up picture taken by her sister Fowzia years ago. He even goes into fine detail explaining her injured mouth, saying that Aafia’s upper lip was cut by a milk bottle in an accident.
Fowzia, he says, warned him at the time that if he tried to divorce Aafia, she would use the picture against him alleging him to be an abusive husband. “It was made to appear in the picture that Aafia was badly injured. Today, the same picture is being circulated in the media to claim that Aafia was tortured for years in Bagram,” he states in The News interview.
There’s no hesitation in this statement – he is very clear about the origins of ‘that picture’. Well I am also clear about the origins of ‘that picture’ because it was taken by the office of the Governor of Ghazni in July 2008.
How do I know? Because the governor told me so himself, and then showed me copies of that and other pictures taken of Aafia on the day of her arrest that he stored on his personal laptop. If you check this unedited footage shot by film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani who accompanied me on my investigations to Pakistan and Afghanistan last year, the origins of that iconic picture become very clear.
That is why I stood up in a press conference a few days ago and called Dr. Khan a liar, and then invited him to sue me “in a court of his choice” for slander and defamation. As a journalist I know the seriousness of making such a statement and I do not make it lightly but I also mean what I say and say what I mean.
In the meantime, I will let you – the viewer – make your own judgment about the photograph of Dr. Aafia. Perhaps you have your own theories about why her ex-husband would lie. Here is the clip
The divorce was, without doubt, a very bitter experience for both sides as most divorces are. Bitterness can remain a lifetime companion, but at the end of the day Dr. Aafia is the mother of his three children and as such she deserves his support and respect.
If he can’t give it, then I suggest Dr. Khan returns to the shadows once more and stops briefing against his wife.
Sharing details of his failed marriage with Dr. Aafia, serves no purpose although I have to question why Dr. Khan signed a legal agreement whereby the custody of the three children was given to Aafia after their split, if he really thought his wife was (as he portrays in the article) … a violent, unstable woman in the sway of jihadists.
In the meantime two of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s children – Marium now aged 10, and six-year-old Suleiman – are still missing.
Perhaps that is something which would concern any parent, but Dr. Khan states casually: “I am sure they are around Karachi and in contact with their maternal family as both Aafia and the children were seen around their house here and in Islamabad on multiple occasions since their alleged disappearance in 2003.
“They may be living under an assumed identity just like Aafia and Ahmed had been living [as Saliha and Ali Ahsan] for five years before they got arrested.”
He said Dr. Fowzia’s claim that the children are missing after being removed from the Bagram prison in Afghanistan “may be an attempt to attract sympathy of the government and the people and distract its attention from the real location.”
He also attempts to pour cold water on claims that Aafiya was held in US custody, including Bagram for five years – but how would he really know?
I, on the otherhand, have eye witness accounts that the woman known as Prisoner 650 who was held in Bagram for years is none other than Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
Even the US authorities, after months of denial, finally supported my statements and admitted that Prisoner 650 was indeed a female detainee in their custody.
The only dispute we have now is the identity of Prisoner 650. The US authorities say she isn’t Aafia but refuse to say who she is and to which country she was returned.
I, on the other hand, now have an interview statement given freely by former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed confirming that Prisoner 650 and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui are one in the same. This man saw her during his time in Bagram and has made a positive identification. His evidence is, in my opinion, irrefutable.
Again, make your own judgments by checking out Binyam Mohamed’s interview through this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGHWcPRBQr8
I now understand Aafia’s case is going to be submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and that the government of Pakistan is making serious efforts on this issue.
In the meantime the case against Aafia will be resumed in New York later this month after a psychologist and physician give their reports regarding her health and if she is fit to plead.
The court hearing is, in itself, illegal and I’m not sure how it can go ahead. I say that on the basis Aafia, is after all a Pakistani citizen who is being tried for an alleged offence carried out in Afghanistan. She is only standing trial in America because she was put on a rendition flight to America – and was certainly not extradited.
* Yvonne Ridley is a patron of the human rights organisation Cage Prisoners and works as a broadcast journalist. her weekly show The Agenda goes out every Friday evening 8.07(GMT) on Press TV – her website is www.yvonneridley.org
References to this aricle:
Interview with Binyam Mohamed: http://www.presstv.com/programs/player/?id=90350
Interview with Governor of Ghazni: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhseSkNX68
Interview in The News: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print3.asp?id=20404