Monday, August 30, 2010

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: New Write-up on Family Official Site

Since Today (30 August 2010) has been marked as the International Day of the Disappeared - looks like the perfect day to post this new item on Dr. Aafia (since as you can see below one of her three children are still missing - the youngest. See more on this day of commeration in Comments below post...

Circumstances Surrounding the Case:

Briefly, here are some of the basic circumstances of Dr. Aafia’s case:

* In March 2003, Dr. Aafia and her three children, Ahmad (boy), six years old and an American citizen, Maryum (girl), four years old and also an American citizen, and Suleman (boy), six months old, kidnapped by unknown authorities in Karachi, Pakistan.
* On March 31, 2003 it was reported by the Pakistani media that Dr. Aafia had been arrested and turned over to representatives of the United States. In early April, this was confirmed on NBC Nightly News, among other media outlets.
* There was communication to the mother of Dr. Aafia from purported “agencies” that the family members should be quiet if they want to see Aafia returned alive.
* By the year 2008, many believed that after five years of being disappeared Dr. Aafia and her three children were most likely dead.
* Then, in July of 2008, the same month Dr. Aafia “appeared” in Ghazni, two events occurred:

1. British human-rights reporter, Yvonne Ridley and former Bagram detainee and British citizen, Moazem Begg, publicly spoke about a woman in Bagram screaming, a woman whom they named the “Grey Lady of Bagram”
2. A petition for habeas corpus was filed with the Pakistan High Court in Islamabad requesting that the court order the Pakistani government to free Dr. Aafia or to even admit that they were then detaining her.

What Supporters and Family Believe?:

This is what the family and many other supporters in the US and in Pakistan believe:

* That Dr. Aafia was (and is) an innocent person who was abducted for money or based on false allegations or false conclusions derived from an unknown source.
* That, unfortunately, all evidence required for her defense and establishing legal proof of her detention would require full cooperation by the U.S. and Pakistani governments, and intelligence agencies, a cooperation that seems impossible.
* That documents incriminating Dr. Aafia are either false documents or produced under torture or threat of harm to her children.
* That the Afghan police were looking for Dr. Aafia and her son based on a description given by an anonymous tip on the day she was detained in Ghazni.
* That had Dr. Aafia and her son been shot on sight on suspicion of being suicide bombers, this would have led to a convenient closure of the case of Aafia Siddiqui at a time when a petition for habeas corpus was pending in the High Court of Pakistan in Islamabad. Note that this court had been asked to order then-President Musharraf and the Pakistani government (which would include anyone working with them) to release her or to reveal her whereabouts.
* That Dr. Aafia, who spoke no local language in Ghazni, was dressed so conspicuously in a manner to be easily identified and shot on sight as a (falsely-accused) suicide bomber as a part of someone else’s plan.
* The forensic and scientific evidence presented during the trial in New York proved that Dr. Aafia could not have committed the crimes for which she was charged, still the jury disregarded the evidence and chose to agree with the prosecution due to fear and prejudice.

What Dr. Aafia’s detractors want?:

* We are asked to believe that Dr. Aafia, a respectable Pakistani woman in all ways, is now the first and only female terrorist from Pakistan; was voluntarily hiding under cover with three children acting as a terror field operative while at the same time leaving her family to believe for five years that she and her three children were dead.
* We are asked to believe that Dr. Aafia arranged this just after her father died, after finding out her marriage was disintegrating, and after leaving her widowed mother alone in Pakistan. It is absolutely not plausible and does not even fit the traditional profile by law enforcement of female or male terrorists from that part of the world.

Current Situation:

* In February, 2010, Dr. Aafia was tried and convicted in a US Federal court on charges of attempted murder and assaulting US servicemen in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The official charges against Dr. Aafia were that she assaulted U.S. soldiers in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with one of the servicemen’s own rifles, while she was in their custody, waiting to be interrogated by them. No US personnel were hurt but Dr. Aafia was shot and suffered serious injuries including brain damage. Dr Aafia categorically denies these charges.
* There were NO terrorism charges against Dr. Aafia.
* According to several legal observers, the trial of Dr. Aafia was littered with many inconsistencies and defects, chief among them being many rulings by the judge that strongly favored the prosecution and prejudiced the case against the defense. These ranged from allowing much hearsay evidence and jury instructions that favored the prosecution. In addition, Dr. Aafia was not represented by lawyers of her choosing and faced constant innuendos of terrorism when she was not charged with any such offense.
* As a result of Judge Richard Berman’s framing of the case in a negative light, Dr Aafia was convicted despite ALL physical and forensic evidence that showed that she could not have committed the acts she was charged with.
* Dr. Aafia remains imprisoned, now at the notorious Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York where she is kept in solitary confinement in the Special housing unit (SHU) which is the most severe confinement category. She is not allowed communication with anyone she trusts, including family members.
* She is expected to be sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years on September 23, 2010.

Dr. Aafia’s Children:

* Dr. Aafia’s oldest son, Ahmed, who is a U.S. citizen by birth, was found in Ghazni, Afghanistan after thinking he was an orphan and, in late 2008, was reunited with Dr. Aafia’s sister in Karachi, Pakistan.
* Dr. Aafia’s daughter, Maryum, also a US citizen by birth, was mysteriously “dropped off” in April 2010 near her aunt’s house in Karachi after being missing for 7 years. She was traumatized and spoke only American accented English.
* Dr. Aafia’s youngest child, Suleman, a boy who would now be about seven years old, remains missing; and is feared dead.

What Supporters and Family Seek?

* Dr. Aafia, an MIT and Brandeis laureate, is now a broken and mere shell of her former self. Under these circumstances, family and supporters are asking the U.S. government to repatriate Dr. Aafia back to her home in Pakistan.
* The Pakistani government has formally made this request as this matter has become a major public issue and has support across Pakistani political and social spectrums. Supporters and people of conscience should press government officials to get Dr. Aafia reunited with her family as soon as possible.
* An independent, open (with full public access and disclosure) and serious investigation should be undertaken into what happened to Dr. Aafia over the missing years and the whereabouts of her remaining child, so that this does not happen to other innocents.
* Dr Aafia’s family and supporters still have hope in fair minded peoples committed to mercy and justice to raise their voices. Justice for the past, for all Dr. Aafia has suffered, is hard to imagine.
* All that is asked for the future is for some measure of correction. If Dr. Aafia is repatriated, perhaps she can pick up some fragments of life with her family.


We ask people to look into this case themselves, and to do so with an open mind. There is a lot of information out there on the Internet, and in the media. Many of the stories demonize Aafia, while some raise her to sainthood. Aafia is neither demon nor saint. Aafia is simply an ordinary mother, daughter and sister trapped in an extraordinary nightmare.


Find much more on here and in Comments below


  1. Part One: International Day of the Disappeared

    Since Today (30 August 2010) has been marked in Geneva as the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances commemorates the International Day of the Disappeared. All over the world, events have been organized by the families and associations of victims to remember those that have suffered the terrible fate of being disappeared. Yet, the Working Group believes that this day ought to be commemorated by all. It is gratified that the Human Rights Council has accepted the recommendation of the Working Group that 30 August be proclaimed the International Day of the Disappeared. The Working Group supports the call by the Human Rights Council for the United Nations General Assembly to recognize this day annually. This would put a further spotlight on these heinous acts.

  2. Part Two: Day of the Disappeared (and keep in mind that Dr. Aafia was disappeared for quite awhile along with her three children)

    Thirty years after the Working Group’s establishment, which will be commemorated at an event to take place in Geneva on 5 November this year, it condemns the fact that enforced disappearances continue to occur all over the world. The Working Group reiterates its solidarity with victims, their families and others who work on the issue. It pays tribute to the many relatives of victims, human rights defenders, non-governmental organizations, lawyers and other individuals and groups who work untiringly and often in difficult circumstances to denounce cases of enforced disappearance, discover the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared, and work to eradicate this terrible practice. It invites all Governments to support the efforts of those working on enforced disappearances and to take all available measures to protect them and others, including witnesses to these crimes.

    To end the practice of enforced disappearances States should continue promoting and giving full effect to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Defining enforced disappearance as a separate and autonomous criminal offence and bringing domestic legislation in conformity with the Declaration would significantly contribute to the prevention and eradication of this odious practice. The Working Group stands ready to assist states in their endeavors to give full effect to the Declaration.

    The work of the Working Group is dependent on the cooperation of Governments. The role of states in investigating cases of enforced disappearances is essential to determining the fate or whereabouts of disappeared persons. The Working Group therefore calls upon Governments to fully cooperate with the Working Group and take all possible measures to address cases of enforced disappearances regardless of when the disappearance occurred, who the victims were or who the perpetrators are.

  3. Part Three

    States should bring all those responsible for these crimes to justice; refrain from any act of intimidation or reprisals against those persons who contribute to the eradication of this crime; and fight impunity wherever it exists.

    The Working Group is pleased to note that recently in a number of countries more has been done to investigate disappearances. It is also gratified that in various states there have been convictions for those who have perpetrated enforced disappearances and that in some cases reparations have been paid to victims or their families. More, however ought to be done to prosecute offenders, provide integral reparations to victims and family members, and to preserve memory.

    The Working Group recalls that, as noted in its recently released General Comment on the Right to the Truth in Relation to Enforced Disappearances, the right to the truth entails the right to know about the progress and results of an investigation, the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared persons, the circumstances of the disappearance, and the identity of the perpetrator(s). The Working Group emphasizes that the right to the truth should be enjoyed by all the victims of enforced disappearances as well as others affected by enforced disappearances. Reconciliation between the State and victims of enforced disappearances and/or their families cannot happen without the clarification of each individual case.

    The Working Group is gratified that, as of 30 August 2010, 83 States have signed and 19 States have ratified the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The ratification or accession of only one more State party is required before the Convention enters into force. The implementation of the Convention, and the coming into being of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance, will strengthen States’ capacities to reduce the number of disappearances and will help realize the demands of victims and their families for justice and truth. The Working Group urges States that have not yet signed and/or ratified the Convention to do so as soon as possible. It also calls upon States to accept the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals under article 31 and the inter-State complaint mechanism under article 32 of the Convention.

    UN Press release

  4. There's more to the post about the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance but I will only add the following sent by a colleague:

    Tellingly, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom (nor Russia, nor China) have signed.

    However, it has been ratified by 19 nations (including 10 Latin American countries, and 3 European nations) and is just one ratification short of becoming international law.

  5. A large group submitting a number of petitions on behalf of Aafia Siddiqui: There is a special petition to a variety of US leaders for this Ramadan/Ramzan time asking to Repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her home in Pakistan NOW! c/o Solidarity Center 55 West 17th St 5C ... Phone 212.633.6646 • E-mail: •

    submitted via email by an independent group working on behalf of Dr. Aafia - see text in next comment

  6. Sample Text for petition referred to in comment above:

    Dear President Barack Obama, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani :

    As the sentencing of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui draws closer at the Federal District Court in Manhattan, I urge you to repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her native Pakistan as a matter of urgency. Given all the facts and circumstances of this case, repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui to Pakistan would not only serve the interests of justice, but is also warranted on humanitarian grounds.

    This simple act of compassion during the month of Ramadan would be of special significance.

    There are numerous credible reports that Dr. Siddiqui was abducted from Pakistan with her three young children in March 2003. Dr. Siddiqui claims that her captors detained her in a series of secret prisons for five years during which time she was abused in a variety of ways and tortured. Her youngest son, Suleman, remains missing to this day.

    Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a citizen of Pakistan. She was not charged with committing any crime on U.S. soil, nor is she a U.S. citizen. She should not have been extradited to the U.S.

    Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is not charged with terrorism nor has she been charged with injuring or harming anyone anywhere. She is a victim of terrible life threatening injuries.

    The plight of the disappeared and missing in Pakistan is a cause of great national pain. Let us begin with this act of compassion to address this grievous problem.

    In light of the circumstances of this case, in which it appears that at a minimum, Dr. Siddiqui suffered severe physical and emotional trauma, we call upon you to exercise all lawful authority to allow Dr. Siddiqui to be repatriated to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.


  7. Petitions referred to above are being sent TO:

    President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. John Kerry (Chairman, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Congressional leaders, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi

    cc: Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary-General, United Nations), UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, UN High Commissioner on Refugees, and members of the Pakistani and U.S. media

    Refer to comments and to post above. (This collection and sending of these petitions may or may not in every sense the official family position.

    Yet perhaps for now it's best to have Plan A & Plan B as no one knows whether or not Dr. Aafia Siddiqui will in fact be sentenced and whether or not the date of Sept. 22 will take place or change or if she may be repatriated.)

  8. Dr Aafia Siddiqui is the most wronged woman alive in the planet today. She is not a villain - she is a brilliant neuro scientist (not nuclear, yes folks it seems some people in US intelligence don't know the difference, doh) who should be leading the field in developing a new learning technique for remedial children.
    Instead she has been kidnapped, tortured, shot and renditioned, put through an illegal trial which had no legal basis - there was no formal extradition made - to face trumped up charges which were allegedy carried out in Afghanistan.
    let's end this farce now and those who took part in the trial - a farce from start to finish - should consider themselves lucky they're not facing crimes against humanity and that includes the Judge. Yes, Your Honour Berman, you are a disgrace to the US judiciary for going along with this illegal trial.
    Yvonne Ridley
    Patron of Cageprisoners -

  9. Dear Yvonne,

    Thanx so much for posting your clear and heart-breaking comment! I also thought/felt the same way as you during the trial - that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui "should be leading the field in developing a new learning technique for remedial children? Your comment here deserves highlighting. May I use it in my next post about Dr. Aafia? I thoroughly agree with you about the part Judge Berman had to play.

    I hope to keep watching for more articles by you and somehow to get/stay in touch.

    Many blessings on all you do for so many hurting.

    Do you see anyone in US mainstream or even alternative consistently showing the truth in this case? I am at a loss to find any.

    What are the chances you might ask to cover sentencing for online - there was a slight opening with them at start of trial in requesting Courts allow Pakistani journalists in Courtroom who knew nothing of the "special requirements" ahead - if I remember correctly?

    Ramadan Mubarak - Shukriya

  10. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's sentencing is scheduled for Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 8:45 AM. Please attend and show your support.


    The Southern District Court of NY
    500 Pearl Street Manhattan, NY
    [In front of Judge Berman, Room 21 D]

    TRAINS: J, M or Z to Chambers St. (north exit to Foley Sq.); #4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall (north exit); A, C to Chambers; R, W to City Hall; 1, 2, 3 to Chambers; E or PATH to WTC; B, D to Grand St.

    See items on Pakistan Floods at