Sunday, 31 Jan, 2010
In an attempt to prove that Aafia is lying, the prosecution brought in a rifle instructor to show that she knew how to handle a gun. — File Photo Front Page
Dr. Aafia’s trial hits closing arguments Dr. Aafia’s trial hits closing arguments NEW YORK: In an attempt to prove that Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist on trial for attempted murder, was lying, the prosecution on Friday brought in a surprise witness to show that she knew how to handle a gun.
Gary Woodsworth, an instructor of the Braintree Rifle and Pistol Club in Massachusetts, testified that Ms Siddiqui made quite an impression nearly 20 years ago when she took a 12-hour National Rifle Association basic pistol course, asking lots of questions about guns.
Woodworth, who was shown a file photo of Ms Siddiqui when she was a student at MIT in Boston (MAS), said he remembered her.
The defence team tried to suggest it was impossible for Woodworth to remember one of hundreds of students from so long ago, but he insisted he was good with faces.
“You have no records of this session...no documents at all to corroborate your memory?” Ms Siddiqui’s lawyer, Dawn Cardi, asked. “Correct,” Woodworth said.
Prosecutors want to show she knows how to handle a weapon -- and Woodworth said Ms Siddiqui fired between 400 and 1,200 rounds during the course, but no rifles.
Ms Siddiqui was not in the courtroom to see the shooting instructor and chose to watch the proceedings on closed-circuit television in a holding cell next door to the courtroom.
FBI Special Agent Bruce Kamerman also testified, saying Ms Siddiqui told him in July 2008 that she picked up the assault rifle “because she wanted to scare the men so she could escape.”
Kamerman, who interrogated Ms Siddiqui when she was taken to the Bagram Airbase near Kabul for surgery, said he informed his superiors of her statement.
But when defence lawyer Elaine Sharp produced his hand-written notes in which there was no reference to her picking up the gun he was left speechless.
Closing statements will be made by the prosecution and defence lawyers on Monday. The jury will then go into deliberations to prepare its verdict.