Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

Posts Tagged ‘Dr Aafia’

Blasphemy and Human Rights: The case of Three Women, Aasia, Aafia and Marwa – A perspective from West

In Blashphemy Law - An Islamic Perspective on December 7, 2010 at 5:40 am

Carol Grayson -

The recent case of Aasia Bibi sentenced to death for blasphemy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and the Qur’an has led to much controversy and heated debate around the world. Concerns have been raised that this woman, a Pakistani Christian has been singled out because of her religion and an independent report claims she is innocent.

Surprising then to learn from The Express Tribune that 84% of blasphemy cases in the Punjab are actually Muslim not Christian and “of the convicts, 12 prisoners, among them Aasia, have been condemned to death.” (Others have been awarded different punishments, including life sentences and fines.)

The paper goes on to say that “only eight Christians have been jailed under the blasphemy laws in Punjab since September 29, 2001.” It would appear though from looking at reactions from scholars and human rights activists, politicians and ordinary citizens that this case is in danger of polarizing public opinion and turning the issue into a battle of religions.

However, further examination shows that common ground can be found between Muslims and Christians and perhaps ironically the most radical way (that can be the hardest to follow at times) is a middle path of tolerance and understanding toward each other.

It is natural for followers of a faith to protect their beliefs and spiritual way of being and Shahnawaz Farooqui does have very valid points in his article claiming that there is both a western disdain for Islam from some quarters, a fear of what is not understood and also perhaps at times what indeed could be interpreted as a religious “envy” http://www.asiadespatch.com/2010/12/opinion-the-western-double-standards-on-the-blasphemy-law/

I heard this from an unexpected corner this week in the words of my own father, a Christian who remarked after watching a news item which included Muslims being interviewed that “you can’t help but admire such conviction and devotion to their faith, I look around and sometimes feel something is missing in the way we live our lives.”

My own growing attraction to Islam is the fact that over the years I have discovered a tolerant religion and felt on occasions a desire to defend that experience when others are fast to criticise. I was not let down in my opinion when the other day I was copied into an article entitled “Aasia Bibi Deserves Mercy From The Nation Of Prophet Mohammad, Mercy To The World.” A writer for a group called Pakistan Cyber Force with the pen name of “Enticing Fury” put forward a compelling argument for compassion for Aasia stating that the blasphemy laws do not apply to non- Muslims since non- Muslims do not know about Islam and its glory. He goes on to state,

Sharia Law protects the rights of the minorities to such an extent that non-Muslims are termed as “ZIMNI” (those whose protection is guaranteed by the State, this (blasphemy) law abuses them in such a way that they are directly sentenced to death without being properly presented with the truth about Islam. This is not Shariah Law in the first place rather it is Zia- Ul- Haq’s corruption of Pakistani laws and it is anti-Islam. Such laws won’t bring non-Muslims closer to Islam rather will push them away from the mid-way and a possible Muslim convert of the future will remain Kaafir (unbeliever) due to the “barakah” of such indiscriminating laws. Had such laws been existing at the time of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. the woman who would throw garbage on our beloved Prophet s.a.w. would never have entered Islam in the end. Moreover when she has asked for mercy publicly several times then there remains no cushion for any Muslim to enforce punishment on a peace seeking human being in the light of the Qur’an where it orders to give peace to the peace seekers even in the battlefield. ( Kashifiat have serious reservations with this statement) (http://networkedblogs.com/aUrfC

The Pope has also joined in calls for Aasia’s release drawing comparisons with St Juliana of Liege who was persecuted by members of the clergy. His message (now played on a video on Youtube)  does give thought for the human rights of others but focuses on “Christians” when many non-Christians equally face persecution both internally and outside of Pakistan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CLuby46hmw&feature=channel

If we believe truly in humanity then there must be the same human rights for all without undue favour to some and withdrawal from others. Perhaps then those asking for clemency on the part of Aasia should also call for compassion for another woman in captivity, a Muslim named Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist sentenced to 86 years in a US court for attempting to shoot American soldiers at a police station in Afghanistan.

Supporters argue that the sentence is barbaric and disproportionate given that although shots were fired no soldiers were actually hit. There are still questions to be answered regarding her case whether or not she was secretly detained for a period of time as a “ghost prisoner” at Bagram Detention Centre, Afghanistan. There are also calls for Aafia (known by some as the “daughter of Pakistan”) to be repatriated from the prison where she is held at the Carswell Medical Facility, Texas, back to her home country.

A recent event on the 1st December 2010 held in London was attended by Moazzam Begg, former Guantanamo detainee and director of Cage prisoners and the organisation’s patron, journalist Yvonne Ridley. The Quu’ran teaches mercy and the Bible preaches forgiveness, also the law of America is supposed to include the process of rehabilitation, regardless of religion there is the question of basic humanity. Human rights legislation as argued by Heather Blake attempts to put that principle of humanity into practice http://www.asiadespatch.com/2010/12/a-commonwealth-perspective-against-blasphemy-laws/ The following article on Aafia written by author and journalist Andy Worthington highlights her case in more detail http://oneheartforpeace.blogspot.com/2010/11/dr-aafia-london-event-wednesday-texas.html

Debates centred on mercy for Aasia Bibi have referred to concerns that Muslim lives are not valued in the same way as Christian lives which produces a great deal of anger and rightly so. Yet despite this British Pakistanis were quick to respond to Aasia’s plight by organising an online petition asking for the death sentence to be repealed.

One legal case where justice must be served is the murder of Marwa al Sherbini now known as the “veiled martyr” an Egyption wife and mother living in Germany, insulted and falsely called a “crazy Islamist” and terrorist” then later brutally murdered for wearing the veil (hijab). The killing caused an outcry as it actually took place in the courtroom in Dresden where neighbor Axel Weins (accused of racism) stabbed Marwa 18 times in front of her husband and child. The husband was also shot by police after he tried to protect her from Weins, which led to allegations of racial discrimination. According to Press TV Marwa’s family “have filed a case of Klaageerzwingungsverfahren, (action enforcement process) which will force the higher regional court to review the case”  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/153890.html The incident so moved me I wrote a tribute to this lady when I first heard about the incident.

In memory of Marwa Al Sherbini (who died for wearing a veil)

What was it that you chose to see

That veiled your own humanity?

Playground darkened with abuse

Racist rage from mind obtuse,

Obsessive thoughts, projectile hate

That sealed a muslim woman’s fate.

An ordinary day, routine,

Just another courtroom scene

Until your anger knew no bounds

Inflicting deep and fatal wounds.

A husband leaps to save his wife

Mistaken, shot, fights for his life,

Marwa falls, blood all around

Draining, dying on the ground,

Her child cries out in pain and fear

No mother’s arms to hold him dear.

What was it that you chose to see

That veiled your own humanity?

To return to the case of Aasia, as Hamza Ameer states, blasphemy is recognised as an “irreverent behaviour” but as he also points out  “as per the constitution of Pakistan, article 45 of the Constitution says, ‘ the President shall have the power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute  any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority” http://www.asiadespatch.com/2010/12/debating-blasphemy-an-invitation-to-chaos-in-pakistan/ It can be argued that each country is judged by how it treats and protects its most vulnerable and those on the margins of society irrespective of ethnicity or religion.

The Daily Times published that the “Federal Minister for Minorities’ Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti on Saturday condemned the announcement of reward for the killing of Aasia Bibi by a cleric in Peshawar.”

What Aasia, Aaafia, and Marwa’s family need is not extreme reaction but a will from ordinary citizens to put aside ignorance, hatred and personal prejudice and display a collective humanity. There is support for all three women globally which can be challenged to good effect  within the belief systems of both Islam and Christianity, it would seem to be down to interpretation and personal motivation. Aasia and Aafia have children and Marwa leaves behind a son. No child should be unfairly punished whatever the circumstances of the mother and observing the human rights of the mother will help support the family unit. I know both Islam and Christianity incorporate teachings of a moral code of behaviour, of understanding and tolerance if we consider a middle path. We are all in some way interconnected on this planet and one way forward towards a more peaceful co existence is to recognize this and put it into practice. The decision whether to take such a step and a responsibility to act lies within each individual.

Carol Grayson is Director Coordination Asia Despatch and a UK independent researcher/campaigner on global health/human rights

Source : http://www.asiadespatch.com/2010/12/blasphemy-and-human-rights-the-case-of-three-women-aasia-aafia-and-marwa/

Wish You Best

In Dr. Aafia Corner, I Hate USA on September 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

Jailed for 86 years, the Pakistani mother-of-three

In Dr. Aafia Corner on September 24, 2010 at 1:22 am

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk

A Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of trying to kill American agents during her interrogation has been jailed for 86 years despite protestations she is mentally ill.

Aafia Siddiqui grabbed an assault rifle while she was detained for questioning in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province over terrorism matters and tried to shoot FBI operatives and soldiers.

The case had attracted significant attention and protests in Pakistan where the 38-year-old mother-of-three was touted by human rights groups as an innocent martyr.

Jailed for 86 years: Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui with Judge Richard Berman in New York today as she was sentencedJailed for 86 years: Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui with Judge Richard Berman in New York today as she was sentenced for attempting to kill FBI agents and U.S. soldiers

Questions: An FBI photo of Siddiqui. Her defence team claimed she was mentally unwell and should only serve 12 years

Her lawyers claimed that the string of outbursts during the trial and her erratic behaviour proved she was mentally unwell and that she should only serve 12 years.

But prosecutors convinced a court that she was in fact a serious threat and at Manhattan’s District Court Judge Richard M. Berman told her that a ‘significant incarceration is appropriate’ meaning she will likely die in jail.

‘Don’t get angry,’ Siddiqui told her supports in court. ‘Forgive Judge Berman.’

She repeatedly told supporters in the gallery not to fight in her name and that she was being well treated.

‘I don’t want any violence in my name, please,’ she said. ‘Thanks to God, I am well in prison. They are not torturing me.’

‘I am a Muslim, but I love Americans too,’ she said during one of her rambling speeches.

The sentence brought to an end a peculiar case which proved she wanted to kill Americans yet left lingering doubts about her state of mind.

Siddiqui was arrested in July 2008 by Afghan police, who said she was carrying containers of chemicals and notes referring to terror attacks.

When they and American soldiers went to interrogate her she grabbed an unattended assault rifle and shot at them whilst shouting ‘Death to Americans!’

She was shot in the stomach by return fire and after recovering was brought to the U.S. for trial.

Family's grief: Siddiqui's sister Fauzia, and mother Ismat, react after learning of the verdict in Karachi, Pakistan todayFamily’s grief: Siddiqui’s sister Fauzia, and mother Ismat, react after learning of the verdict in Karachi, Pakistan today

In court prosecutors made out that she was a ‘cold, calculating jihadist who set out to harm American troops by any means necessary’.

They quoted from notes she was carrying at the time of her arrest referring to ‘a ‘mass casualty attack’ … NY CITY monuments: Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge,’ and another musing how a dirty bomb would spread more fear than death.

They claimed the notes, along with the fact that she was carrying sodium cyanide, showed she wasn’t an accidental menace.

‘Her conduct was not senseless or thoughtless,’ prosecutors said in legal papers, ‘It was deliberate and premeditated. Siddiqui should be punished accordingly.’

According to Siddiqui’s legal team, however, her behaviour was a spontaneous ‘freak out’ born of mental issues rather than Islamic militancy.

Protests: Pakistani demonstrators in Karachi today voice their support of Siddiqui

Siddiqui’s rambling courtroom rants proclaiming her innocence and offering odd solutions for Middle East peace ran counter to the prosecution’s portrait of her.

Testifying in her own defence while wearing a head scarf, she claimed she was tortured at a ‘secret prison’ before her detention.

Charges that she purposely shot at soldiers were ‘crazy,’ she said. ‘It’s just ridiculous.’

Among Saddiqui’s possessions at the time of her arrest was a computer disk with an essay she’d written about feminism and her struggles as a Muslim woman living in America.

The title: ‘I am not a Terrorist.’

Siddiqui trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. in the early 1990s and, according to prosecutors, returned to her native Pakistan in 2003 after marrying an al Qaeda operative related to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

News of her sentence sparked protests in Karachi whilst others demonstrated outside the courthouse.

Though she was not convicted of terrorism, the U.S. government argued that Siddiqui is a cold-blooded radical who deserves a ‘terrorism enhancement’ under federal sentencing guidelines that would guarantee a life term.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314716/Jailed-86-years-Pakistani-mother-tried-kill-FBI-agents-U-S-soldiers-assault-rifle-Afghanistan.html#ixzz10PCLAqNd

Downfall of America has just Begun – Dr. Aafia’s Mother Statement

In Dr. Aafia Corner on February 4, 2010 at 7:36 am

Dr. Aafia Convicted of trying to kill Americans – That’s why we hate YOU -Americans

In Dr. Aafia Corner on February 3, 2010 at 8:04 pm

NEW YORK—A U.S.-trained Pakistani scientist was convicted Wednesday of charges that she tried to kill Americans while detained in Afghanistan in 2008, shouting with raised arm as jurors left the courtroom: “This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America.”

A jury deliberated three days in federal court in Manhattan before finding Aafia Siddiqui guilty in the third week of her attempted murder trial, which she often interrupted with rambling courtroom outbursts.

After declaring the verdict came from Israel, she turned toward spectators in the packed courtroom and said: “Your anger should be directed where it belongs. I can testify to this and I have proof.”

Siddiqui, 37, was convicted of attempted murder, though the crime was not found by the jury to be premeditated. She was also convicted of armed assault, using and carrying a firearm, and assault of U.S. officers and employees.

Before her arrest, U.S. authorities had called Siddiqui an al-Qaida sympathizer. She was never charged with terrorism, but prosecutors called her a grave threat who was carrying bomb-making instructions and a list of New York City landmarks including the Statue of Liberty when she was captured.

The defendant—a spindly neuroscience specialist who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University—”is no shrinking violet,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher La Vigne said in closing arguments.

“She does what she wants when she wants it,” he said. “These charges are no joke. People almost died.”

Testifying in her own defense, Siddiqui claimed she had been tortured and held in a “secret prison” before her detention. Charges that she attacked U.S. personnel who wanted to interrogate her were “crazy,” she said. “It’s just ridiculous.”

In court, Siddiqui veiled her head and face with a white scarf and often sat slumped in her chair. She openly sparred with the judge and her own lawyers, insisted she could single-handedly bring peace to the Middle East and lashed out at witnesses in tirades that got her kicked out of the courtroom.

“I was never planning a bombing! You’re lying!” she yelled while an Army captain testified.

In her closing argument, defense attorney Linda Moreno accused the prosecutors of trying to play on the jury’s fears.

“They want to scare you into convicting Aafia Siddiqui,” she said. “The defense trusts that you’re much smarter than that.”

During the two-week trial, FBI agents and U.S. soldiers testified that when they went to interrogate Siddiqui at an Afghan police station, she snatched up an unattended assault rifle and shot at them while yelling, “Death to Americans.” She was wounded by return fire but recovered and was brought to the United States to face charges attempted murder, assault and gun charges.

A chief warrant officer, who testified in uniform but did not give his name, told jurors he had set down his M4 rifle after being told Siddiqui had been restrained. He testified he was shocked when she suddenly appeared from behind a curtain wielding his M4 rifle and yelling, “Allah akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.”

“It was pretty amazing she got that thing up and squared off,” he said. “She was looking at me and aiming dead at me.”

Hearing the rifle go off, the officer said he followed his military training and pulled his pistol. Siddiqui was wrestling with an interpreter when he shot her in the stomach.

“I operated within the rules of engagement to eliminate the threat,” he said.

The defense told jurors there was no ballistic, fingerprint or other physical evidence proving the weapon was “touched by Dr. Siddiqui, let alone fired by her.”

Siddiqui testified she was shot shortly after she poked her head around a curtain to see if there was a way she might slip out of the room where she was being held. She said she was desperate to escape because she feared being returned to a secret prison.

“I wanted to get out. … I was afraid,” she said.

Verdict in Aafia Siddiqui’s case expected Wednesday

In Dr. Aafia Corner on February 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
NEW YORK, Feb 03 (APP): A New York jury deliberated for several hours on Tuesday without reaching a verdict in the case of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of FBI agents and US military personnel in Afghanistan.
The deliberations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, at the end of which a verdict is expected. But no one could with certainty that the 12-member jury would return a verdict. Ms. Siddiqui’s case went to the jury after more than two weeks of trial in a Manhattan federal court.
She is accused of grabbing a US warrant officer’s M-4 rifle in a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan in July 2008 and firing two shots at FBI agents and military personnel, who had gone there to interrogate her.
The prosecution alleges she emerged from behind a curtain and fire two bullets before she was shot by the chief warrants officer. Before adjourning Tuesday afternoon, the jury went over the testimonies of Ms. Siddiqui, Captain Robert Snyder of US Army, who accused her of picking an unsecured gun and firing two shots; FBI Special Agent Gordon Hurley, who was first to inspect the crime scene; and two Afghan police officers—Abdul Qadeer and Bashir.
The jurors also examined the M-4 rifle that Ms.  Siddiqui is alleged to have brandished at US personnel. Last week, Siddiqui testified she was concerned about being transferred to a “secret” prison by the US forces and was trying to slip out of the room when she was shot. “I’m telling you what I know.
I walked toward the curtain. I was shot and I was shot again. I fainted,” she said. Siddiqui’s lawyer Linda Moreno said during closing arguments Monday that the “science” supported her testimony that she didn’t touch the weapon or fire it. “Where are the bullet holes? Did the Afghanis take the bullet holes? There is no physical evidence that an M-4 rifle was touched by Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, let alone fired”, Moreno said.
Some legal experts believe that by testifying before the court against the advice of her lawyers and family, Ms. Siddiqui may have complicated her case. This was clear from the way the prosecution on Monday picked holes in her testimony, accusing her of lying planning to destroy New York City landmarks. Ms. Siddiqui vanished in Karachi with her three children on March 30, 2003.
US officials allege that she was seized on July 17, 2008 by Afghan security forces in Ghazni province and claim that documents, including formulas for explosives and chemical weapons, were found in her handbag. She has been brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault.
Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison on the attempted murder charges and life in prison on the firearms charge. However, human rights organizations have cast doubt on the accuracy of the US account of the event.

Jury To Decide Fate of Aafia Siddiqui

In Dr. Aafia Corner on February 2, 2010 at 5:37 am

 Source : http://ibrahimsajidmalick.com/jury-to-decide-fate-of-aafia-siddiqui/1027/ 

500pearlAs closing remarks came to an end and jury deliberations began in the trial of female Pakistani. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who faces 7 count assault and attempted murder charges in a New York Court room, for an alleged shooting incident in Ghazni Afghanistan, many spectators are wondering if it is possible for her to have a fair trial in post 9-11 America.

Although she is not charged with terrorism, the Prosecution was able to make that claim the underpinning of its entire case, due in large part to Judge Richard Berman’s decision to allow into evidence documents found in Dr. Siddiqui’s possession which include handwritten notes about “how to make a dirty bomb” and plans to cause “mass casualties” in the United States. The defense Attorney, Charles Swift said it was a legally “flawed” decision and will be the basis on an appeal if Dr. Siddiqui is not acquitted.

In their closing remarks the prosecution was able to spin the jury’s decision from a verdict on the guilt or innocence of Dr. Siddiqui, to the guilt or innocence of the 9 government eyewitnesses who say they heard or saw an M4 rifle shot on July 18, 2008 by Dr. Siddiqui. ‘For you to find Aafia Siddiqui not-guilty. That means you believe that the 9 Government witnesses who testified under oath stared you in the face and lied, men and women of the armed forces.’

The Prosecution characterized Siddiqui as a highly intelligent yet shrewd and cunning manipulator who carefully “planned her defense”. He described how she “ducked” and “dodged” questions referring to her answers about the year she was born and her son who was found with her. During her testimony Dr. Siddiqui was asked if she was born in 1972. Her response was “If you say so” , then when on to explain how can anyone recall when they were born. Later, she was asked by Jenna Dabbs if the boy she was with was her son. She again couldn’t answer directly claiming that she only saw pictures of him so she didn’t know for sure. Though many legal observers found her answers quite logical, it would be difficult for the jury to understand this without being informed of her claims of being in held in a secret prison for 5 years.

The prosecution then addressed the inconsistencies in the eyewitness testimonies as analogous to a car accident, in which different people would have different accounts of what happened prior to the accident as their “focus” would be on different things, but during the accident everyone’s focus would then “shift” to the sight of action and then perspectives would converge.

Later during the rebuttal phase of the closing, the prosecution argued that the inconsistencies were proof that the accounts were truthful. “They didn’t get together” and make sure their stories matched. “There was no grand conspiracy to convict this woman.” If they wanted to do that “why didn’t they simply plant some evidence” at the crime scene.

They were responding to the closing remarks made by the defense in which Linda Moreno argued that the ‘bond” between soldiers on the battlefield who must “protect each other”, influenced the testimonies of the government witnesses. She pointed out that their testimonies not only conflicted with each other’s but with their own earlier signed statements.

Moreno tried to get the jury to focus on the science and the forensic evidence. “there’s only one witness who’s impartial” and who “doesn’t have a dog in this fight”, and that is the room she said, the 26 X 12 ft room, 300 square feet with 10-120 people. She reminded the of the complete lack of physical evidence, no bullets, casings, bullet holes, gun shot residue. No one else was hurt except Aafia Siddiqui in this small crowded room where the M4 rifle allegedly went off. She responded to the government claim that the Afghans took the evidence, by pointing out that they (the Afghans) were the ones who alerted the Americans to her in the first place.

The Prosecution’s closing remarks had more references to the “documents” describing terrorist acts against Americans, than throughout the entire trial. Moreno responded to this by saying, “they’re trying to scare you. But that “Fear has no place in this trial. Fear has no place in America”

Aafia Siddiqui Trial: Jury Can Start Deliberation On Monday

In Dr. Aafia Corner on January 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  By Ibrahim Sajid Malick

Jury in Dr. Aafia Siddiqui trial is likely to begin deliberations Monday afternoon after prosecution and defense attorneys make closing statements.

In a taped video deposition presented by defense on Friday, Bashir, an Afghan police officer testified that he saw an American officer walk behind the curtain just before he heard gun shots, and that he never saw Dr. Siddiqui pick up a gun. Bashir was the last defense witness.

 Earlier in the day Judge Richard Berman allowed prosecution to produce additional witnesses to rebut claims made by the defense witnesses and experts. With lack of physical evidence and burden of proof – the Government has to demonstrate with mathematical certitude that Dr. Siddiqui grabbed the Chief Warrant Officer’s M4 Assault Rifle and fired at United States officers and employees in Ghazni, Afghanistan on July 18, 2008.

A point of possible contention was raised Friday when Bashir testified there were two shell casing found in the room. Government has produced only one .9mm shell casing as evidence during the trial. The prosecution offered rebuttal witnesses, intended to respond to the evidence presented by the defense. First, the prosecution called a firing range owner, Gary Woodworth, who testified that he remembered Dr. Siddiqui coming to the shooting range 19 years ago.

However under cross examination, Mr. Woodworth also admitted that there were no records of Dr. Siddiqui ever having visited the shooting range, and that even if she had, it could have been as part of her physical education requirements at MIT. Mr. Woodworth also acknowledged being a member of the National Rifle Association and having very close relationships with law enforcement officers. He also admitted that the course he alleged she came for is a very basic training pistol course.

 When asked by a defense attorney if he remembered the student he taught before Aafia he said, “no”; if he remembered the student he taught after Aafia, he said “no”. The prosecution then called FBI Special Agent Bruce Kammerman, who testified that while recuperating at Bagram Airbase hospital, Dr. Siddiqui had told him that she had picked up the gun because she wanted to scare people in order to ease her escape. However, on cross-examination, Agent Kammerman admitted that his original handwritten notes about the conversation did not mention anything about “picking up” the gun, but only Dr. Siddiqui’s desire to escape, and that the reference to the gun was added only in the final typed report.

Kammerman testified that during the conversations she was “lucid”, but he was not aware of what medications she was on and did not inquire about them. He testified that he addressed all of her needs for food, water, and bathroom use during his 12 hour daily shifts monitoring her.

 In Aafia Siddiqui’s direct testimony during her time at the hospital she said that Bruce’s presence was “torture” for her as he would cross examination, Kammerman conceded that when she needed to go to the bathroom he did insist that the door be open for “security”. According to Siddiqui’s testimony, he would stay all night and because of this during his entire 12 hour shifts she could not go to the bathroom. The Prosecution then brought the other FBI agent who monitored Dr. Siddiqui while in the hospital, Angela Sercer. Sercer is a female Special Agent who also kept 12 hour shifts every day that Siddiqui was at the hospital.

She offered similar testimony to Kammerman, however, acknowledged that Siddiqui was on a wide variety of medications including, morphine, ativan, haldol, phentinol, and percocet; still she maintained that Siddiqui was “lucid”. According to Siddiqui Angela seemed like a “nice person” Both Sercer and Kammerman testified that their purpose in being with Siddiqui was for “security” and to “gather intelligence” about matters unrelated to the shooting incident. They both also testified that Siddiqui initiated the conversations. If neither of these fact were accurate then Miranda Laws would apply and these alleged self-incriminating statements would not be admissible in court.

According to Miranda laws an arrested individual must be advised of their rights including the right to an attorney and/or consular staff, and right not to speak. Also, law enforcement officals must identify themselves. Although Siddiqui was not read her Miranda rights and FBI officals did not identify themselves, the judge has allowed their testimony.

 Thursday had marked a turning point in the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who decided to take the witness stand in her own defense. She declared under oath for the first time that she “was tortured in a secret prison” and that her missing children are all that has been on her mind every day. Dr. Siddiqui denied ever having shot at anyone, and appeared to remain unshaken even under intense cross-examination by the prosecution.

She explained that she was shot by US soldiers while attempting to peek around the curtain partition in the interrogation room, while looking for a way to escape. Before her testimony was cut short by the Judge, Dr. Siddiqui mentioned that her fear of being sent back to a secret prison had made her anxious to escape.

Source : http://ibrahimsajidmalick.com/aafia-siddiqui-trial-jury-can-start-deliberation-on-monday/986/

Defense team wants ‘Lady al Qaeda’ Aafia Siddiqui barred from taking stand

In Dr. Aafia Corner, I Hate USA on January 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

She’s not just out of control – she’s out of her mind.

Or so lawyers for the so-called “Lady al Qaeda” claimed Tuesday as asked a judge to bar their client from taking the stand in her own defense.

Lawyers for MIT-trained scientist Aafia Siddiqui say her request to testify “is driven by her severe mental illness and would turn the trial into a spectacle.”

“It has been and continues to be our belief that Dr. Siddiqui suffers from diminished capacity,” the lawyers wrote in a letter to Manhattan Federal Richard Berman.

The bid to muzzle Siddiqui – charged with attempted murder for opening fire on Americans in Afghanistan – is a longshot since she’s already been found competent.

Since the trial began last week, she’s been tossed from the courtroom several times for outbursts – including pleas to talk to President Obama and boasts that she can broker peace with the Taliban.

The lawyer fear more of the same under oath.

“Should Dr. Siddiqui continue her irrational and bewildering insistence that she has the power to influence the Taliban, she will invite jurors to infer that she has terrorist associations,” they wrote.

Her family says they’re also worried about Siddiqui’s mental state.

“The Aafia whom we know and love is not the same rational and focused Aafia who we see in this courtroom,” said her brother, Muhammad Siddiqui.

Prosecutors aren’t buying it.

“She is clearly doing it opportunistically,” prosecutor David Rody said even before the defense made its request.
“This is not any kind of political statement. She is trying to win the trial.”

Siddiqui, meanwhile, told the judge she no longer wants to attend the trial.

“I’m going to boycott from now on,” she said as she left the courtroom. “I’m not coming here again. Bye again.”

The judge is expected to rule on whether she can testify before the defense begins presenting its case to the jury today.

Siddiqui is on trial for allegedly snatched a Special Forces officer’s rifle and opening fire on a team of Americans sent to interrogate her after she was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 with chemicals and weapons-making guides

Witnesses’ accounts differ at Dr. Aafia’s trial

In Dr. Aafia Corner, I Hate USA on January 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm

By Alvis Matt

The second day of Aafia Siddiqui’s trial on attempted murder charge was marked by conflicting versions given by government witnesses of the 2008 incident in Afghanistan, with an FBI expert saying on Wednesday he found no fingerprints on the rifle that she allegedly used to fire at US interrogators there.

T. J. Fife, the FBI fingerprint expert who was put on the stand by the prosecution on the second day of Ms. Siddiqui’s trial, said he used all techniques, including the top-of-the-line laser technology to search for evidence, but found nothing on the M-4 rifle, which was produced in the court.

“There were no fingerprints on the rifle, but it is difficult to obtain them from firearms,” he added.
Fife was the last of the five prosecution witnesses who testified on Wednesday. He will be cross-examined by defence lawyers on Thursday.

Throughout Wednesday’s proceedings, the lawyers for the prosecution and defence worked to focus the jurors’ attention on their stands concerning the July 18, 2008, incident in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

In his opening statement on Tuesday, Charles Swift, the defence lawyer, had said Ms. Siddiqui didn’t fire any weapon that day. Authorities were never able to find any gunpowder residue on Ms. Siddiqui or any ballistics evidence showing the rifle had been fired or that she had used it, Swift said.

The prosecution brought in the FBI fingerprint expert in an obvious attempt to take the edge off Swift’s statement because the government witness said that firearms usually do not record the impressions. The reason he gave was that firearms have rough surface that do not retain fingerprints, with heat, humidity and sweat also contributing to erasing them.

Meanwhile, a former Afghani interpreter with US Special Forces on Wednesday appeared to contradict the version of the Ghazni shooting incident given by a US Army captain on Tuesday about the position of Ms. Siddiqui while allegedly aiming the rifle. While interpreter Ahmad Gul told the court that the Pakistani neuroscientist was standing with the gun in her hand, Capt. Robert Snyder had said that she was in kneeling position.

Gul, who now holds a Green Card, lives in the United States. Responding to Defence lawyer Linda Moreno’s question, he said that the U.S. government had sponsored him in October 2008 and he got the permanent resident status in 2009. He said he was paid all expences here until he got a job in a clothing store.

Gul also had trouble in remembering what he had said in a report to the FBI five days after the incident. He had then stated that his chief warrant officer looked behind a curtain of the room in a police station where Ms. Siddiqui was supposed to be sitting. Responding to the defence attorney’s queries, Gul said his boss never look behind the curtain. Ms. Moreno then handed him the report he had signed, to which he said it was wrong.
The interpreter said he managed to disarm Ms. Siddiqui, after she was shot in the abdomen.

The neuroscientist is alleged to have grabbed the rifle after the Special Forces officer left the weapon within her reach, according to the prosecution.

The same officer used his 9mm pistol to shoot Siddiqui after she fired two shots, prosecutors said. NO one hit in the room, but Ms. Siddiqui was wounded in the abdomen.

Shortly after the Americans gathered in the room to interview Ms. Siddiqui, Gul said Capt. Snyder’s shouted: “She’s got the gun!”

 

Gul, claiming to be standing just three feet from Ms. Sidduqi, said he lunged at her and started wrestling for the weapon. Ms. Siddiqui fired one shot before he reached the rifle, and a second after he pushed her into a wall.

Earlier, FBI agent John Jefferson, under questioning from Ms. Moreno, the defence lawyer, said he never saw Ms. Siddiqui firing the weapon even though he was in the room. He said he thought that the shots were coming from the window.

Agent Jefferson testified that he heard an M-4 rifle — which he said is distinguished when fired because of its loud pops — fired in the room, followed by two shots of lower volume.

But on cross-examination, Ms. Moreno suggested, Jefferson’s hearing might have been impaired because he was wearing a communication device.

“But you had some devices in your ear?” Ms. Moreno asked.

“Yes,” Jefferson said.

“And they remained in your ear while you were in the room?” she said.

“Correct,” he said.

The trial of Ms. Siddiqui is taking place under heavier-than-usual security. On Wednesday, a metal detector was put in place outside the 21st-floor courtroom, in addition to the ones already on the ground floor. But Judge Berman told the court not to draw any “adverse inferences” from it.

Before the start of the trial, Ms. Siddiqui, who was wearing a white scarf, told the presiding Judge, Richard Berman, that her articles in some magazines were being distorted. While nothing positive she wrote about America was ever picked up, some of her observations were taken out of to give a negative impression of her. Indeed, she is being projected as terrorist even though she has not been accused of terrorism.

Ms. Siddiqui, who was removed from the court on Tuesday after she interrupted the proceedings, agreed not to do so again. “I’m just going to be quiet, but it doesn’t mean I agree,” she said.

Ms. Siddiqui, who on Tuesday had called a witness a liar and denied that she was a terrorist, then rested her head on a table and kept it there for much of the morning’s proceedings.

Judge Berman also told jurors that the evidence presented by the government should not be taken as a proof of Ms. Siddiqui’s alleged crime. He also told them to weigh what the prosecution witnesses say about Ms. Siddiqui while quoting Afghan officials

My children were tortured : Dr Aafia

By Alvis Matt

Posted on 20 Jan 2010 at 2:52am GMT

Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui has told jurors at her trial that she was held in a secret prison in Afghanistan, her children were tortured, and the case against her is a sham.

On Tuesday, Siddiqui was thrown out of the New York courtroom where her trail is being held after shouting the remarks at the jurors.

The MIT-educated neuroscientist is currently on trial, facing charges of trying to kill US soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan in 2008 and connections with Al-Qaeda operatives.

She was ejected from her federal court trial after her second outburst, Bloomberg reported.

“Since I’ll never get a chance to speak,” she said in the courtroom. “If you were in a secret prison, or your children were tortured…”

She insisted that she knew nothing about a plan to carry out terrorist attacks on targets in New York, The New York Daily News reported.

“Give me a little credit, this is not a list of targets of New York,” she said. “I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.”

Siddiqui vanished in Karachi, Pakistan with her three children on March 30, 2003. The next day it was reported in local newspapers that she had been taken into custody on terrorism charges.

US officials allege Aafia Siddiqui was seized on July 17, 2008 by Afghan security forces in Ghazni province and claim that documents, including formulas for explosives and chemical weapons, were found in her handbag.

They say that while she was being interrogated, she grabbed a US warrant officer’s M-4 rifle and fired two shots at FBI agents and military personnel but missed and that the warrant officer then fired back, hitting her in the torso.

She was brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault. Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

However, human rights organizations have cast doubt on the accuracy of the US account of the event.

Many political activists believe she was Prisoner 650 of the US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, where they say she was tortured for five years until one day US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan.

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