It’s really sad that a senior Pakistani analyst and journalist is under arrest on FBI made up charges and Pakistan government especially and journalist communities in general aren’t doing anything for him.
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Mr. Zaidi has been living in Virginia, Washington DC for more than 20 years now. He fathers 5 kids and is of 65 years of age. Mr. Zaidi has worked in media for around 40 years, his filings for the Jang Group and later The News cover a solid 25 year span.
Mr. Zaidi ran into trouble with authorities in USA for first time for breaking the news that CIA had supplied Heroin manufacturing factories to Afghan War Lords in order to generate funds for War against USSR.
He had further encounters with FBI in 1995 & then was visited by Feds (FBI) in 2003 (after 9/11), and was asked to “become an informant”, which he refused. FBI then tried to frame him on terrorist related Charges, his phone records were accessed and his communication was monitored, CNN’s Jonathan Mann report this story in his show INSIGHT WITH JONATHAN MANN and had broadcasted interview of Mr. Zaidi in 2003.
Finally they trapped him by using an agent who communicated with Mr. Zaidi on internet pretending to be mother of a 13 year old girl interested in having sex with an older man, driven by his journalistic instincts to find out the truth, Mr. Zaidi agreed to meet the mother of this “minor” in an open public place in a parking lot in Ohio State. However, she never showed up on the appointed place and time, as Zaidi drew out of the parking lot, some 50 FBI agents blocked his car in a Terry Style Stop without any legal warrants against him, asked him to step out of his car and arrested him for “Attempt to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce an individual who had not attained the age of 18, that is a 13 years old girl to engage in illegal sexual activity with him”.
However, the truth is that there was no minor, Mr. Zaidi never met any girl, or woman or anyone at all in person, he only communicated on internet and phone with a 40 year old woman who claimed to be the mother of 13 year old girl, and this woman was in fact not even a woman, but a male FBI agent who, according to FBI claim, used some gadget/device to change his male voice to that of a female of telephone while talking to Mr. Zaidi, he is the one who tried to persuade, induce, entice or seduce Mr. Zaidi to have sex with a 13 year old (who never existed).
Mr. Zaidi wanted to investigate him/her and during communication refused to meet the minor and refused to meet the so called Mother in private and asked her to come to a public place if she were REAL.
In fact FBI admits in their own unsigned indictment in the court that they persuaded Zaidi, and told him that the minor girl (who never existed) has been persuaded by the Mother (FBI agent) and Mother wants her daughter to have sex with him thus the case should be against agents who fabricated the whole thing and themselves admit of persuading a minor (who never existed) into a sexual contact with an adult male (which never happened).
Though his arrest was made in a dramatic style, it was in clear violation of local state and federals laws.
First and foremost Mr. Zaidi was arrested illegally rather kidnapped without any probable cause being established for warrants to be issued, without any warrants obtained for his arrest on March 20, 2008, and without serving him with any warrants at the time of his arrest.
He was kept in custody for over two days till March 23, 2008 without producing any warrant or presenting him before any judge. On March 23, 2008 a notice was issued to produce him before the court but no warrants made available, when he was produced before the Court the Indictment papers were unsigned and no official stated under oath the probable cause for arrest as required by the Law.
The Prosecution did not go to a grand jury as required by Fifth Amendment, whereby its clearly states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on presentation or indictment of a grand jury”. Thus the most Basic right was violated.
Since his arrest almost a year and half, the case has progressed very little, during this period a lawyer provided by Govt. and 3 hired by the family were all pressurized/influenced by US Intel agencies, finally Mr. Zaidi decided to represent himself in the court. Although in US justice system it works against the defendant if he/she does not have a proper lawyer, however, Mr. Zaidi believes he has no other choice.
Upon his request to represent himself, judge referred him to a mental facility, for mental evaluation to ascertain if he could stand a trial and/or represent himself.
As per Law in USA the judge should ensure an earliest possible hearing, however, the maximum time period he may allow to keep someone in a mental facility is 4 months, yet the judge never called a hearing during 4 months time, and in a clear violation of the law he let him stay in for over 5 months and did not call a hearing even after the mandatory time had passed.
In such environment it is hard to believe that impartial justice will be done, especially when judge starts acting illegally, it is understood that defendant stands a little chance.
We believe that Mr. Zaidi is innocent until proven guilty, all we want is an impartial inquiry into the manner in which he was arrested, we want his trial to take place in transparent and efficient manner, we want him to be represented by able lawyers not under influence of US Govt. and we want evidence against him brought forward if any.
We Appeal to all Journalist bodies including various press clubs in Pakistan, PFUJ, REPORTER’S COMMITTEE FOR THE FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS AND JOURNALISTS SAN FRONTIER and all the International bodies of the journalists to take this matter up on merit.
We request the Govt. of Pakistan and Pakistan’s Ambassador in USA to take interest in this case and provide Zaidi with legal and financial help that may be required.
We know how the prisoners in the US custody are treated be it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo or in US Prisons, the US does not conform to any international law when it comes to frame someone and or the treatment of those detained.
Thus we must do our bit. It is another way of countering the media syntax and vocabulary that relentlessly projects “Pakistan” and “Pakistani” as a conjunction of things “bad, negative and hopeless” – a fact that I personally resent. By silence and navel-gazing or universally critiquing our own we publically forfeit national pride.
We firmly believe that Mr. Zaidi deserves sympathy and help in this trying time of his life from his fellow journalists and countrymen.
Read Nayyar Zaidi’s point of view: