Last week Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyers were informed that Judge Berman of the Manhattan South District was closing her case and dismissing her appeal at her request. Siddiqui, who received an 86 year sentence after being convicted in a trial based on conflicted testimony, innuendo and secret evidence, has been in solitary confinement in Carswell Medical Center since 2008, The jury made it very clear that although they believed the witness testimony with regard to her actions, they did not believe her actions were premeditated, Yet the judge used the ‘terrorism’ enhancement to her charges to raise her sentence from the 12 or 15 years normally applicable to her conviction to 86 years.
At Carswell, Siddiqui does not receive any mail, and is not allowed to visit with her family. We are told that she rejects her mail. I have had many notes and cards returned. The family, her mother, her sister Fowzia and her children, have not spoken to her in a year. They were unable to share with her, her son’s graduation from high school with honors this year. During that last conversation, her sister Fowzia, a prominent neurologist in Karachi, asked Aafia why she rejects her mail. Aafia replied that she didn’t know she had received any mail. In the current press release:
Dr Fowzia said she had a recorded voice of her sister during their last communication in which she was determined to fight her case and clearly indicated that she is 100% behind any action taken by Dr Fowzia, also not to believe any statement coming on her behalf if there is no contact with her.
The Pakistani government is deeply involved in this case. Although the U.S, government has repeatedly asserted that they were not holding Siddiqui during the five years she was missing before her arrest in Ghazni, a member of the Pakistani police has been recorded acknowledging that they had detained her and turned her over to the ‘Americans’ in the spring of 2003. The fact her daughter Mariam, who was four at the time of her detention, was returned speaking fluent American English is another indicator that Americans were involved in her disappearance. .
At the time Siddiqui was brought to the United States for trial, members of the Pakistani government came here and met with her. They paid millions of dollars for well known human rights lawyers, whose representation she rejected because they presented a case based on her mental disability rather than on her innocence, and because they refused to raise her prior detention as a factor in her state at the time of her arrest in Ghazni.. Judge Berman refused to honor her request and generally treated her assertions as the meanderings of an eccentric, if not deranged person.
Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman from Karachi who had attended school, married and begun raising her family in the United States, disappeared from the streets of Karachi with her three young children one day in March of 2003. Though they openly accuse Siddiqui of ‘terrorism’ the United States denies that they had anything to do with her abduction, and they have never tried her or charged her with the actions they have leaked, including a connection with Khalid Sheik Mohammad, which has been fleshed out in the tabloid press, where she is referred to as ‘Lady Al Qaeda.. Shortly after her family, who had searched for her tirelessly after her disappearance, followed up on a lead that she might be incarcerated in the US prison at Bagram Afghanistan, she mysteriously appeared in Ghazni. alone on the streets with her son Ahmed, confused and disoriented. She didn’t speak any Afghan language and didn’t recognize her son, whom she hadn’t seen in five years, and in her bag was a strange assortment of items, kind of a terrorist action kit with random items that might be useful to someone someone bent on attacking the United States.
When the Afghan police called the Americans to interrogate her, the senior member of the US military team on duty set his gun on the ground with in her reach and claims that she picked it up and tried to shoot him. Although there is no evidence that she fired the gun, his team managed to fire a few rounds into her gut, nearly killing her. She arrived in New York for her trial a week after emergency surgery, weak, traumatized and confused. Although she was charged with shooting at US soldiers, Siddiqui was tried on the contents of her bag, and the direct testimony of those soldiers, because there was no physical evidence that she had fired the gun, or even touched it.
It is clear that Aafia Siddiqui was abused, tortured by someone, but I don’t think Ghazni was the first time that the Americans put her on the street with their idea of a scientific terrorist busy box. I think they had used her as bait during her long absence, keeping her under control with threats to her children. But, that’s another story. In the courtroom in Manhattan, everything Aafia did or said was characterized as a reflection of incompetence, while the psych reports presented by the prosecution reflected the government’s stance that she is a sociopath and a liar. rather than a traumatized victim.
If the truth were to come out as to the extent of the torment visited on this woman, it would be a major embarrassment for both the United States and the Pakistani governments. And so, they continue her persecution by hiding her in solitary in a high security mental hospital, and announcing on her behalf, the quixotic decision that she wishes to withdraw an appeal that precisely characterizes her complaints about the management of her trial, and to have her case closed once and for all. She is depressed, is the implication. If she want’s to give up, it is her right. This coming from the same court dismissed her right to make decisions during her trial. But according to the Siddiqui family press release, Judge Berman went further, and stated that it was irrelevant that he had closed the case at Aafia’s request because “had the appeal continued, he likely would have ruled against her in any case.” Nice to know his opinion was already formed. Why waste time on formalities.
Pif Paf Case closed. Back in the dungeon, Aafia Siddiqui is alone with her pain and despair. But her loving family, her mother and sister, and her children, continue to work for her release.