Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

Posts Tagged ‘trial’

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/

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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.