Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RECAP: IJN Report & Case Against Aafia Siddiqui Begins to Unravel By Raja Mujtaba (Veterans Today)

Although these are earlier reports, I decided to post them here for new viewers and reviewers to help summarize some of the major issues. Posts before and after this one should be generally in sequence...

IJN Trial Summary 1/26/2010
January 26, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.
Tina M. Foster, Executive Director the International Justice Network and spokesperson for Muhammad Siddiqui, Aafia’s brother, issued the following statement posted January 26th on behalf of Aafia's U.S.-based family:

The prosecution's case further unraveled today when US Army Sergeant Lamont Williams testified that the female army medic who treated Aafia wasn't in the room when the alleged incident occurred. This directly contradicted the medic's own testimony yesterday, in which she claimed to be in the room and witnessed Aafia holding the M4 rifle. The prosecution is expected to rest by tomorrow afternoon, and the defense will likely call their first witness.
IJN Trial Summary 1/25/2010
January 25, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.

Tina M. Foster, Executive Director the International Justice Network and spokesperson for Muhammad Siddiqui, Aafia’s brother, issued the following statement today on behalf of her U.S.-based family:

The female medic who was present and treated Aafia after the shooting incident took the stand. Her testimony directly contradicted that of prior witnesses who placed the M4 rifle and relevant witnesses at differing locations at the scene. Next, the US Warrant Officer who shot Aafia took the stand -- but was unable to explain statements he gave to the FBI regarding the incident which significantly differed from his testimony at trial. To date, no two prosecution witnesses have provided a consistent account of the shooting incident.

Given what we have observed during the trial, we are very concerned about our sister Aafia's emotional and physical health. It is clear to us that she is extremely depressed, and her outbursts in the courtroom reveal that she has been traumatized by her past ordeal and current treatment. She, like the rest of our family, continues to be distraught over the safety of her two young children who have been kidnapped and missing since her initial arrest.

The Aafia whom we see in this courtroom now, is not the same rational and focused Aafia who we know and love. It is clear to us that her frail emotional condition is deteriorating due to the pressure of humiliating daily strip searches that she must submit to daily, in order to attend the trial she does not want to attend. She has repeatedly asked to remain in her cell during the trial proceedings, a request which the judge continues to deny.

Despite the fact that both the prosecution and the defense agree that Dr. Aafia need not be physically present, today, once again, the judge forced her to attend court. When the US government agent that shot her was called to the courtroom, our sister became upset and once again was ordered to be removed from the courtroom. All of this is happening in front of the jury who will decide her fate. We ask Judge Berman to have mercy on our sister, who has been through enough pain, suffering, and indignities throughout the past year and half while in US custody. She should not be continually forced to attend against her will, only to be upset by the proceedings and thrown out each day in the presence of the jury which will compromise her ability to receive a fair trial.
See also here (note the two comments here which follow the article - at this URL and see Raja Mujtaba's website)

Case against Aafia Siddiqui begins to unravel
January 26, 2010 by Raja Mujtaba

The case against Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of FBI agents and US military personnel, is beginning to unravel as witnesses have offered conflicting accounts in testimony delivered at her trial.

The long-awaited trial of Siddiqui began in a federal courtroom in New York on Tuesday.

On January 21, which was the second day of the trial, Assistant US Attorney Jenna Dabbs showed jurors numerous photographs of the room of the Afghan police station where the shooting allegedly took place, and a photo of the cell where Siddiqui was held when she was first brought to the station on July 17, 2008, the independent online news network Mathaba reported.

But Carlo Rosati, an FBI firearms expert who testified in the federal court on Friday, expressed doubts whether the M-4 rifle, which was allegedly grabbed by Aafia Siddiqui to attack US interrogators in Ghazni, Afghanistan, was ever fired at the crime scene, the Associated Press of Pakistan said.

In addition, on the third of the trial, an FBI agent testified that the FBI did not find Aafia Siddiqui’s fingerprints on the rifle.

No Pakistanis reporters were granted press credentials when opening statements began on Tuesday.

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 insisted on the first day of the trial 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 told jurors at her trial on Tuesday that she was held in a secret prison in Afghanistan, her children were tortured, and the case against her is a sham.

She was ejected from the federal court on the first day of here trial after her shouting outburst.

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 then 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.

A WVNS Report

Yvonne Ridley on Sister Aafia Siddiqui earlier while reposted again later:



Connie L. Nash said...

Haqqani says making all efforts for acquittal of Aafia Siddiqui

NEW YORK, Jan 27 (APP): Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani on Wednesday pledged all diplomatic and legal efforts for acquittal of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national facing charges of attempted attack on U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. “We are making all diplomatic and legal efforts for acquittal of Aafia from the case,” he told newsmen outside a federal court, where the 37-year old Dr Siddiqui is facing trial.

“We will do our best for her,”the envoy added, referring to diplomatic and legal assistance the Pakistani diplomats have been providing to secure release of Ms Siddiqui. Ambassador Haqqani arrived at the courtroom Wednesday morning and witnessed the proceedings for some time. The envoy met the prosecution and defense lawyers to learn about progress in the proceedings. He also met with Justice Richard Berman. Ms Siddiqui, a US-educated neuroscientist was brought to New York from Afghanistan, and in 2008 charged with allegedly trying to attack American personnel in that country. Ms Siddiqui has denied any wrongdoing and rejected prosecution’s charges against her.

This item was posted at APP.Com.PK which is also covering the Dr. Siddiqui trial in New York.

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