Saturday, December 13, 2008

UPDATED: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: Notice - Expected Hearing: December 17th

December 17 is the expected date of hearing for determining whether Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the victim of alleged rape and torture who is being tried on counter-allegations by the accused authorities in the US, is fit to stand trial. The court has already announced on November 17 that Aafia is mentally unfit. Hence it is being expected that she would be released on the next hearing.

I doubt that, very much. To begin with, Aafia was remanded on a charge which wouldn't have been taken seriously by any self-respecting court of law. The whole story of her picking up an M4 rifle and firing two rounds at random was illogical. This being the only charge brought against her, she was still remanded without bail!

A pattern has become obvious by now: whatever could be the farthest from justice and common sense has happened at every turn. Since it makes sense that having been announced mentally unfit a month ago, she should be released now, therefore it should be the least expected. Instead, anything "unexpected" can happen - anything that violates decency, justice and common sense (let's remember that in this context even the US ambassador didn't flinch from making a very misleading public statement)!

Please don't remain silent. Think about it, and post your comments at About Aafia

Khurram Ali Shafique (See more from Mr. Shafique at The Republic of Rumi)
Here is another recent item...

The US Administration has continually misled us in our attempts to discover the true identity of Prisoner 650 and have even denied her existence previously. We need to know the extent of Pakistan's co-operation in the involvement of Prisoner 650 and Dr Aafiya Siddiqui now that we know the two are seperate cases (stated in Press Conference by Yvonne Ridley / Lord Nazir of Rotherham on Sept 09 2008 in London UK).

We also need to know the full extent of these innocent victims caught up in this scandal of the Disappeared, especially with regards to sisters who are referred to as female enemy combatants including prisoner 650. Prisoner 650 was held for two years in one of the most primitive, brutal regimes where abuse, torture and degradation have been routinely carried out. We need to know who she is and where she is. I would have thought that all of us have learnt lessons from the horrific episode of Abu Ghraib.

The time for the complete truth has arrived. We, the people, demand to know how many female enemy combatants the US has in custody and exactly where they are and from which countries. All we ask is that these female detainees and others be allowed to prove their innocence in the court of law. This is in no way protecting terrorists.


Several other sites (some of the comments are as interesting as the posted items)

Go to teeth dot com (pk slash blog slash 2008 slash 12 slash 11 aafia-siddiqui-released-on-december-17"

and Go to the republic of rumi dot com slash archives slash aafia

***Here's one more quite recent item:

Here is quite an interesting collection of official statements:

Look for more recent and older links to be continually updated here & by searching: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Hearing December ... etc.
Here is an article from September 2008 found in FINDLAW The Strange and Terrible Case of Aafia Siddiqui
(Joanne Mariner is an attorney with Human Rights Watch in New York)

Monday, Sept. 08, 2008

Everyone agrees that she's a 36-year-old mother of three young children. But while the New York Post calls her the "Al Qaeda mom," and federal prosecutors claim that when she was arrested in July she was carrying a bag packed with chemicals and handwritten notes about a "mass casualty attack," Aafia Siddiqui's lawyers say she's a victim.

"This woman has been tortured and she needs help," explained Elizabeth Fink, one of her defense counsel, at an August 11 court hearing.

Siddiqui disappeared in Pakistan in March 2003. Together with her three children - then aged 6 years, 5 years, and 6 months - she reportedly left her parents' home in Karachi to visit her uncle in Islamabad, but never arrived. Last July, more than five years later, she mysteriously reappeared in US custody in Afghanistan. Based on their interviews with her, and a pattern of similar cases, her lawyers claim that she has spent the last five years as a secret captive of Pakistani or American authorities.

Siddiqui's oldest child, Ahmed, was found with her in Afghanistan. The whereabouts of her two younger children are unknown.

Disappearance from Karachi, Reappearance in Ghazni

The name Aafia Siddiqui first came to public attention on March 18, 2003, when the FBI issued an alert requesting information about her. Siddiqui, a US-educated neuroscientist, was then living in Pakistan. The US government later alleged that Siddiqui was linked to al Qaeda suspects Majid Khan and Ali 'Abd al-'Aziz Ali (also known as Ammar al-Baluchi), and news outlets reported that she had acted as an al Qaeda fixer.

Majid Khan and Ali 'Abd al-'Aziz Ali both disappeared from Karachi at almost precisely the same time as Siddiqui did. They did not reappear until September 2006, after their transfer to Guantanamo from CIA custody. For more than three years, they had been secretly held by the CIA or one of the CIA's proxies. Like many others, they had been arrested by the Pakistani intelligence services and handed over to CIA as part of the "war on terror."

When Siddiqui disappeared, on approximately March 28, 2003, the Pakistani papers mentioned reports that she had been "picked up in Karachi by an intelligence agency" and "shifted to an unknown place for questioning." A year later, in a follow-up story, the Pakistani papers quoted a Pakistani government spokesman who said that she had been handed over to US authorities in 2003.

But unlike Khan and a number of others, Siddiqui did not reappear in US custody in 2006; nor was she heard from in 2007. It was not until July 2008, after her case had started gaining political notoriety, that she suddenly reappeared in Afghanistan.

According to the official US account, Afghan police arrested Aafia Siddiqui and her son in Ghazni, Afghanistan, on July 17, 2008. The federal indictment against Siddiqui states that the Afghan police officers who arrested her found suspicious items in her handbag, including notes referring "to the construction of 'dirty bombs,' chemical and biological weapons, and other explosives." Siddiqui's lawyers reject this account, suggesting that the charges against Siddiqui are a sham.

US federal prosecutors allege that the day after her arrest, while still in Afghan custody, she grabbed a gun from the floor and fired it at a team of US soldiers and federal intelligence agents who were visiting the Afghan police compound where she was being held. Nobody was killed in the scuffle, but Siddiqui was injured. In August, she was charged with assaulting and trying to kill US officials. She is currently in US federal custody in New York City, awaiting arraignment.

An Unlikely Story

Siddiqui's story seems improbable, no matter which version you believe. If you trust the US story, you have to imagine that Siddiqui succeeded in hiding for more than five years -- despite the intense interest of US and Pakistani intelligence services - then decided to pop up in Afghanistan with an all-purpose terrorism kit, and then, upon her arrest, decided to take advantage of a security lapse to blast away at US soldiers and FBI agents. More than the al Qaeda mom, as the New York Post dubs her, she would have to be al Qaeda's Angelina Jolie.

The claim that she was hidden away in secret detention all these years might seem equally unlikely. But when one realizes that the people she was allegedly linked to were themselves held in secret detention, and that the Pakistani intelligence services were covertly arresting dozens of people in Karachi during this period, the story gains plausibility.

Because Siddiqui's disappearance fit neatly into a larger pattern, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and several other human rights groups included Siddiqui on a 2007 list of people suspected to have been in CIA custody.

Although the US government has denied that the United States held Siddiqui during the period of her disappearance, the federal court that is hearing her case should facilitate an in-depth investigation of her lawyers' claims. The possibility that Siddiqui was held for five years in secret detention before her official arrest is not only deeply relevant to her mental state at the time of the alleged crimes, it goes to the integrity of the court's jurisdiction.

11-Year-Old Ahmed Siddiqui

Besides the question of where Siddiqui herself has been all of the years, an even more pressing question is where are her children?

To date, the whereabouts of the two youngest children - who should now be about 5 and 10 years old - are unknown. But Siddiqui's oldest son, Ahmed, an 11-year-old with American citizenship, is in Afghan custody.

According to an Afghan Interior Ministry official quoted in the Washington Post, Ahmed Siddiqui was held briefly by the Interior Ministry when he was arrested with his mother in July, and then he was transferred to the custody of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country's intelligence agency. The NDS is notorious for its brutal treatment of detainees.

Under Afghan and international law, Ahmed Siddiqui is too young to be treated as a criminal suspect. Under Afghanistan's Juvenile Code, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 13. And according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors the treatment of children globally, a minimum age of criminal responsibility below age 12 is "not ... internationally acceptable."

Human Rights Watch has called upon the Afghan authorities to release Ahmed Siddiqui to members of his biological family, who reside in Pakistan, or to a child welfare organization that can provide proper care until he is reunited with his family. As Human Rights Watch has emphasized, an 11-year-old should never have been transferred to the custody of the NDS.

"Treatment Fairly Characterized as Horrendous"

Siddiqui's lawyers say that she is a physical and psychological wreck. Her nose has reportedly been broken; she is deathly pale, and her mental state is extremely fragile. Siddiqui refused to attend her most recent court hearing, unhappy with the prospect of an invasive strip search, but at an early hearing she seemed in obvious pain.

"She is a mother of three who has been through several years of detention, whose interrogators were Americans, [and] who endured treatment fairly characterized as horrendous," said Elaine Sharp, one of Siddiqui's lawyers. As this case progresses, in the coming weeks and months, the court should ensure that the public learns the truth of these claims.

Joanne Mariner is an attorney with Human Rights Watch in New York.

for the article in it's setting - Go
Not long ago, from a woman, Amina, who believes (and may have some proof) that her husband as well as Dr. Aafia Siddiqui were sold to US by bounty...and another, who reposted this with additional comments...

...‘I have come to know through President Musharraf’s book -In the line of Fire- that citizens of Pakistan were sold to Americans after taking bounties of dollars. Some of them are Dr Aafia Siddiqui along with three innocent children, Saifullah Paracha, Majid Khan, Atiqueur Rehman, Faisal Faraz and my husband Masood Ahmad Janjua.’

‘I request you as an aggrieved daughter of the nation to please give me this much favour as to tell me how much money should I need to pay to buy back my husband from American custody and similarly other honourable citizens of my beloved country…?’

Friday, November 07, 2008
By Usman Manzoor

ISLAMABAD: Chairperson of the Defence of Human Rights Amina Masood Janjua has asked the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief to help release innocent missing Pakistanis from the custody of ‘secret agencies’ of Pakistan and America.

Amina said she was ready to pay the bounty to the Americans they had given for these innocent Pakistanis and wanted to know how much money was taken against the missing persons. In a letter written to Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Amina Masood wrote that she had confirmed reports of innocent Pakistanis being detained by secret agencies of Pakistan and America, which she would disclose when asked.

She wrote: ‘I have come to know through President Musharraf’s book In the line of Fire that citizens of Pakistan were sold to Americans after taking bounties of dollars. Some of them are Dr Aafia Siddiqui along with three innocent children, Saifullah Paracha, Majid Khan, Atiqueur Rehman, Faisal Faraz and my husband Masood Ahmad Janjua.’

‘I also have confirmed evidence of my husband Masood Ahmad Janjua abducted on July 30, 2005 from Rawalpindi, being still kept in Pakistan at the GHQ, 10 Corps Chaklala Garrison Rawalpindi, and at Cell 20, I-9 Islamabad (under Col Habibullah) during his three years and three months most torturous illegal detention, so far. Lt-Gen Safqaat, the then-MS to the president, also called my father-in-law Lt-Col (retd) Raja Ali Muhammad on May 31, 2006 and confirmed that Masood was alive and will be coming home.’

She mentioned: ‘Sources of my confirmed information are international Human Rights Organisations like Cage Prisoners, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Witnesses of many released persons, and confirmation through Pakistan Army and Air force sources (which I will disclose when asked about it), that Masood is in the custody of secret agencies of both Pakistan and the US working in close collaboration in Pakistan.’

‘Since huge amounts of money was taken for Masood (violating all international and national laws, fundamental rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), Americans will never release him unless they will get their money back. I request you as an aggrieved daughter of the nation to please give me this much favour as to tell me how much money should I need to pay to buy back my husband from American custody and similarly other honourable citizens of my beloved country…?’

‘For this kindness, my very old parents, two sons, one daughter and me myself will keep praying for you all our life, if Masood is released this way by paying off the required amount,’ Amina concluded.

(posted in various blogs)

NOTE:the claim that a number of detainees have been sold by bounty has been confirmed by a number of reliable sources, including Andy Worthington,to learn more about his work, his book on Guantanamo and his active website - Go Here

Would any readers who know of other corroborated and reliable, recent items about Dr. Siddiqui, please leave the links or titles with source in the Comments section here at OneHeartForPeace weblog? Also, leave your suggestions as to an action that could be formed uniformly and world-wide...

Thank You,

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