Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

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.
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