Thursday, February 4, 2010
Aafia Siddiqui: The Plot and the List of Questions Thickens
Pardon me for identifying this by another title as well because the one below is how it was listed...but I thought some who see such a title and are in a hurry might dismiss it off hand as more proof of her guilt. Mr. Malick's article is full of important questions. Now perhaps the blogosphere will pick the item up by several titles?
Thank You, Mr. Malick, for your amazingly deep coverage of such a tough and important case as this!
Connie, oneheartforpeace blogger
another stellar investigative (and troubling) report from Ibrahim Sajid Malick dot com
Aafia Siddiqui Was Part Of al-Qaeda Sleeper Cell: Says Pakistan Government
Posted on 04 February 2010 by Ibrahim Sajid Malick
A message from Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC expressed dismay “over the unexpected verdict of the jury in Dr. Aafia Siddiqui case in NY District Court,” yesterday and committed all support to “provide justice to her as a Pakistani citizen.”
But the integrity of this message is clearly questionable because representative of Pakistan Embassy who attended part of proceedings and interacted with defense lawyers told several journalists that she was part of al-Qaeda’s sleeper cell.
When questioned if Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was indeed part of a terrorist organization why didn’t prosecution establish that case, he responded: “she was part of al-Qaeda sleeper cell. This would have compromised how they gather intelligence.”
When asked how he knows that she was part of al-Qaeda Mr. Asif said he had a meeting with Director FBI in 2008. “Ambassador Haqqani met with FBI director and I was in that meeting. They told us they will not pursue terrorism charges because it will expose sophisticated intelligence gather techniques.”
Pakistani government continues to claim at the highest level they are sincerely helping Dr. Aafia Siddiqui but that does not reconcile with their action.
Yesterday we also learned that government of Pakistan had put a gag order on Dr. Siddiqui’s family as a pre-condition to release her son, Ahmed.
Defense attorney Elaine Sharp yesterday told us that a gag order was placed on the family by the Government of Pakistan, who made this a pre-condition for the release of the oldest child Ahmed. This is why no one from the family has been able to talk openly about what may have happened to her and her children for 5 years.
Many legal observers have questioned if there was a conflict of interest in the Government of Pakistan paying for the defense when they themselves are implicated in her kidnapping.
A message from Mr. Nadeem Kayani, press attaché the Government of Pakistan in Washington DC said his government: “made intense diplomatic and legal efforts on her behalf and will consult the family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the team of defense Lawyers to determine the future course of action. The Government will do all that is needed to provide justice to her as a Pakistani citizen.”
The Pakistani government has been giving the impression that intense legal and diplomatic efforts were underway to secure the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, but there was little sign of those efforts in the courtroom where she was on trial for attempted murder.
In a recent statement to the media Interior Minister Rehmen Malik stated that Zardari had “taken up” the issue of her release with Robert Gates.
However the U.S. Government’s Justice Department spared no expense in trying to ensure that Siddiqui spends her life in prison.
The US Government had a team of their best prosecuting attorney’s working on the case. There had been as many as 8-10 Government attorneys seen conferring about the case during the trial. They had been aggressive throughout, filing every motion possible to secure a conviction.
The U.S Government also brought two Afghan nationals to America even giving one permanent immigration status and money to establish himself in the U.S.
Moreover, the Pakistan Government was not even able to ensure that her family and attorneys had free and open access to her. Nor were they able to stop the humiliating strip searches that Siddiqui had endure every day of the trial.
Federal Judge, Richard Berman, ruled on the side of the prosecution in nearly every motion. One of the most surprising was when he allowed statements that Dr. Siddiqui made while at a hospital in Bagram to be used against her although she had not been “Mirandized” This refers to the Miranda Laws that direct law enforcement officials to identify themselves to an arrested individual and to advise that individual of their rights, including the right an attorney.
This ruling came a day after Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani, had a private meeting with Judge Richard Berman and attorneys from both sides, which he described as “positive”.
Dr. Siddiqui was not only “not Mirandized”, but she also had all 4 limbs tied to a bed, was recovering from surgery, on heavy medication, sleep deprived, and most importantly under 24 hour surveillance by FBI officials who failed to identify themselves as such when she made the alleged statements.
According to Siddiqui one of the FBI officials “tortured” her and thus she did not speak to him at all. The other, a female agent, pretended to be her friend. These are the same agents who testified against her in the trial. Despite that, Siddiqui was able to give context to the statements she made and continued to maintain her innocence.
Judge Berman, also sustained a majority of prosecution objections and overruled a majority of defense objections; even those that follow normal standards of jurisprudence. Although Siddiqui was not on trial for terrorism, the judge allowed innuendo and questioning that suggest exactly that.
Also check out my rough draft just below and send me some advice...
Posted by CN at 7:49 AM