A faithful Mother of three, A Doctor, An innocent Human Being: Abused, Tortured & STILL imprisoned!
Give her Justice: FREE HER!
Imagine that you are a woman yet a qualified doctor, a hard working mother, independent yet a gentle individual. Imagine that you are also an MIT Graduate! Imagine that you have been involved in charity work especially for refugee children affected in the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1993. You would feel quite accomplished, would you not?
Now, imagine that 11 years ago you along with your children, including your 6 month-old baby, were abducted just outside of your house in the most horrifying manner! Imagine that you are then beaten up, separated from your children and for several years you are treated in such horrendous ways with no clue as to what wrong you committed nor with any access to your family members. Imagine that while in captivity you are sexually abused, mentally tortured and psychologically tormented. Imagine that your family is desperately searching for you and due to large amounts of pressure from an investigative journalist the world finds out about you but after years of torture you are instantly shifted from your present location and sent to a biased court whose judge has already made a decision before you are even allowed to defend yourself! Imagine that false evidence is put forward and despite your innocence being made clear & all the forensic evidence pointing to your innocence you are still found guilty of causing terror when infact you are yourself a victim of terror! Imagine that after all this horrendous ordeal you find yourself locked up in one of the most notorious jails in the world, cut off from your family permanently and are continuously raped, mentally tortured and tormented. Imagine that despite all that you have already suffered you are imprisoned for life! And, ironically all this while you are the one accused of being a terrorist! How would you feel? Honestly, how would you feel? I mean really, how would you feel? Betrayed, disgusted and heavily oppressed are just a few words that might come to mind.
You would think nobody especially such a highly educated woman and her children should go through such horrible torments but what if I were to tell you that this is exactly what happened in real life and while you are reading this, this nightmarish ordeal is a reality and is still on-going? But for one woman this did happen in reality and, this cruel torture is still going on even as you read this!
On 30th March 2003, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a MIT Graduate, a mother of three and a holder of both American and Pakistani Citizenship was kidnapped from Karachi, Pakistan along with her three children including her then 6-month old baby. Her home was in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, Pakistan and she was going to catch a Taxi to catch a flight to Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport. To this very day, she remains sexually abused, cut off from her family and is being mentally tortured at one of the most notorious jails in the world and her youngest child, a 6-month old baby at the time of being kidnapped, is still missing to this very day. Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan under whose leadership several thousands of people with no links to terrorism or terrorist activities were literally sold-off to the American Government as part of the “war on terror”, himself said in December 2013 that he denied handing over Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the United States and calling whoever did so was a traitor. At least we all can agree that “handing over” of Dr. Aafia was indeed being treacherous, even though the way in which she was “handed over” is unarguably cruel and wrong. It is however, interesting to note that Musharraf himself claimed in his book “In the line of fire” written almost a decade before his recent statement, that he was proud to have sold off people whom he referred to as “terrorists” off to the American Government. Almost every single one of these “terrorists” actually has been proven to have no link to terrorism, and after decades of torture in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Prison and other notorious prisons some have been released without having any charges against them and some are still imprisoned, with no access to a fair trial.
In February, 2010 Dr. Aafia’s eldest son returned to his family and described how, when he, his mother and siblings came out of their home, fifteen to twenty people, including a ‘white lady’ and members of the ISI (Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency), were waiting in three to four vehicles on the next street and subsequently kidnapped them. Dr. Aafia was placed into one black car and the crying children into another. Years later, Dr. Aafia’s lawyer Elaine Sharpe, described how Dr. Aafia’s 6-month-old baby, Suleman, was believed to have been killed during the arrest. Dr. Aafia was later shown a picture of her baby (Suleman), lying in a pool of blood. It is not known if Suleman is still alive.
And the strangest thing is that no matter how many Wikipedia articles you quote or how many left-wing media agencies you would like to search upon, it is rather pathetic and shameful to see that not once was Dr. Aafia Siddiqui actually charged with terrorism. The whole pretext upon which she and her children were actually kidnapped, tortured and harassed was a false pretext! As a matter of fact, according to several reliable Human Rights Organizations, Former Senior Government figures in both the United States & Pakistan and several prominent investigative journalists, Dr. Aafia had no links with terrorism. And that it was Dr. Aafia Siddiqui & her family who were actually the ones to be terrorised.
On the very day that Dr. Aafia & her children were kidnapped, Dr. Aafia’s mother, Ismet was threatened by a man wearing a bike helmet not to report Dr. Aafia’s disappearance. On March 31, 2003 it was reported by the Pakistani media that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui had been arrested and turned over to representatives of the United States. In early April, this was confirmed on NBC Nightly News, among other media outlets. On 21st April 2003, a “senior U.S. law enforcement official” told Lisa Myers of NBC Nightly News, that Dr. Aafia was indeed in Pakistani custody. The same source retracted the statement the next day without explanation.
Also in 2003, in a closed hearing when the FBI had subpoenaed some documents from Dr Aafia’s sister, an FBI official did confirm to her family that she was alive and well, but would answer no questions on her whereabouts.
However, these statements were changed and then the American Government claimed that between 2003 and 2008 that they had no clue where she was and claimed that she “mysteriously vanished”. Evidence however, proves otherwise. After all, this was the same American Government under George W. Bush that claimed Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”. After 2 Million deaths in Iraq we know for sure that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction. And, reading below you would know quite clearly that neither did Dr. Aafia Siddiqui had anything remotely to do with terrorism but on the contrary was herself a victim of state terrorism.
A leading Human Rights Activist and award-winning British Journalist, Ms. Yvonne Ridley was the first to bring the plight of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the world’s attention via her documentary entitled “In search of Prisoner 650”. Prisoner 650 was a female prisoner locked up & tortured relentlessly in Bagram Airbase (an American Airbase & Prison) in Bagram, Afghanistan. Former Bagram Air Base Detainees pointed out that while they were detained at Bagram Air Base, they heard noises of a woman being tortured, she was known to them as prisoner 650. They also committed to 9-days of hunger strike to cause the tormentors to stop torturing prisoner 650. It was Ms. Yvonne Ridley who while making this documentary found out that this prisoner 650 was actually Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and that in the period between 2003-2008, Dr Aafia Siddiqui was indeed being tortured at Bagram Air Base, while her family was searching for her in Pakistan.
As if this much of suffering was not enough, Dr Aafia Siddiqui was taken to a court in New York after 5 years of relentless abuse and torture in Afghanistan. The only claim made against her was shooting at Interrogators while being interviewed and carrying booklets. Few people who actually have a know-how of counter-terrorism believe a frail 5ft 3in, 40 kg woman could disarm a group of American soldiers; fewer still think she would be carrying bomb booklets, chemicals and target lists especially after 5 years of being relentlessly tortured. What is even more awful is the fact that Dr. Aafia was reportedly put on an FBI “alert” list for questioning in March 2003 and a year later was placed by the US attorney general on a “most wanted” list of persons with alleged connections to Al-Qa’ida. However, when put on trial Dr. Aafia was not charged with any of these crimes. Not one of those, which is really very strange and peculiar. The obvious conclusion among several legal experts including the former Attorney General of USA, being that Dr. Aafia had after all no connections with Al Qaeda and had no links with terrorism whatsoever. This conclusion should itself make us stop and ponder. She was kidnapped along with her children, tortured, raped and thrown in jail for over 5 years before actually being put on trial on the pretext of war on terror when infact there was no proven connection to terrorism whatsoever neither before the trial nor after the trial!
As a matter of fact, even for the charge that was finally made against Dr. Aafia, there was no scientific or forensic evidence tying Dr. Aafia to the weapon she allegedly fired. There were no fingerprints found nor were there any ballistic residue (residue due to firing a bullet) found which according to a huge proportion of legal experts meant that Dr. Aafia did not fire any weapon and she was innocent of all crimes charged against her.
Amnesty International (the world’s leading human rights organisation) along with many other prominent human rights organisations monitored the trial for fairness. And, the observers including four British Parliamentarians have clearly stated that the trial was a “grave miscarriage of justice”. This was also the view of The International Justice Network (IJN), the Justice through Peace organisation and several other high-profile legal organisations.
According to several legal observers, the trial of Dr. Aafia was littered with many inconsistencies and defects, chief among them being many rulings by the judge during this case, Judge Richard Berman, that strongly favoured the prosecution and prejudiced the case against the defence. These ranged from allowing much hearsay evidence and jury instructions that favoured the prosecution. In addition, Dr. Aafia was not represented by lawyers of her choosing and faced constant innuendos of terrorism when she was not charged with any such offence.
As a result of Judge Richard Berman’s framing of the case in a negative light, Dr Aafia was convicted despite ALL physical and forensic evidence that showed that she could not have committed the acts she was charged with. She was ultimately “sentenced” to 86 years in jail as if all that she and her little children had previously endured was not enough. And, despite ALL of this: All these decades of torture, harassment and sexual abuse, Dr. Aafia asked people not to take any revenge or get emotional. She asked that those who have wronged her, be forgiven as she forgave Judge Richard Berman.
And, Dr. Aafia made a statement during the court hearing that left almost everyone, including the International media present at the court, in tears:
“You can’t build a case on hate; you should build it on fact!”
– Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
Needless to say that all this while, Dr. Aafia’s own family including her sister Dr. Fawzia Siddiqui (who herself is a PhD. graduate from Harvard University), Dr. Aafia’s mother, Ismet and Dr. Aafia’s brother have been struggling alot to have their dear relative freed and simultaneously searching for Dr. Aafia’s youngest child, Suleman, who is still missing and is feared dead.
Considering all the facts provided before us the least that can be demanded is that some justice be given to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. If Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is at least repatriated back to Pakistan, perhaps she can pick up some fragments of life with her family. If someone as gentle as Dr. Aafia Siddiqui can be framed for crimes she did not do, then all of us can be framed too. Therefore, it is about time that this horrible ordeal against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui & her family be stopped.
Lawyer of Dr Aafia Stephen F. Downs wrote the attached letter to Prime Minister… (Govt. is willing to take advantage of this time to bring my client home)
Sources: draafia.wordpress.com – aafiamovement.com