- Against Aafia: FBI alert (2003)
- Against US authorities: abduction, rape and torture of Aafia and abduction of her three minor children (July 2008 and before)
- Againat Aafia: attacking US military personnel (made public on August 4)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Aafia's brother met her on October 12, six days after the senators. If both statements are correct then the conclusion is rather disturbing: Aafia appeared more stable on October 6 than on October 12. Is her mental health deteriorating at Carswell?
That might be just what is going wrong in our times. In some of its forms, activism has become "opiate of the people." Everybody makes a statement and soon there is enough noise to drown any invitation for arriving at consensus.
Protest activism has its merits and has worked well in many cases in the past but issues have become so entangled now that people who agree on one point might be in disagreement on everything else. How far can they go if each one of them insists on making all the statements which their heart dictates?
Activist, historian and political leader (and lawyer) from Pakistan Aitzaz Ahsan said when Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was presented in a US court, "this is a test case for US legal system." While that may or may not be, but the case is almost certainly a test for human rights: can we find ways of being effective rather than just being noisy?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Defies description, your letter, Excellency. I have read and re-read the account of Siddiqui’s alleged “firing — unprovoked” over the months since you wrote that letter. Of how Siddiqui came out screaming from behind a curtain where she was being held “unrestrained”, and, picking up an M4 US army service rifle, aimed and fired at an American (warrant) officer. She is said to have missed her target because an Afghan translator who was sitting at arm’s length from her leapt at her and deflected the rifle.
Excellency, for someone who has handled small arms as a soldier in the infantry; has taught them, and therefore has fired thousands of rounds from all types of small arms, I can’t for the life of me imagine even a first-class shooter pick up a rifle he/she did not know, cock it, find the safety catch and flip it, and fire it in under the three seconds that it probably took the alleged Afghan translator to allegedly lunge at Siddiqui and allegedly deflect her alleged shot. Unless, that is, a handbook on the use of the M4 and a certificate from a weapons training school somewhere in America that she was a trained M4 shooter were also found in Siddiqui’s handbag when she was caught by the Afghan police loitering outside the Ghazni governor’s compound!
You also do not tell us that if it is true that Siddiqui was prevented from hitting her target by the Afghan translator (and had probably been well and truly subdued for she is no Samson), why it was necessary for the American warrant officer to shoot her in the abdomen “at least once”. What was the point? Neither do you tell us what “at least once” means. Are we to think that the authorities who first held her in Afghanistan after the shooting, those that held her in New York City, and those who now hold her in Houston are still baffled as to how many times the woman was shot?
Also, you have nowhere in your letter mentioned the 13-year-old boy who was seen in a photograph taken soon after she was shot “at least once” sitting by her side. Indeed, you said in your published letter to the press: “The United States has no definitive knowledge as to the whereabouts of Ms Siddiqui’s children”. Then who was the teenager who was repatriated by the Afghan government and is now reunited with his mother’s family?
By the way Excellency, if you care to notice, Aafia Siddiqui is about your build and dimensions. May I suggest you get one of your Marines at the embassy to bring you a US army-issue M4 rifle. Now ask him to clear the chamber, affix the magazine, put the rifle on ‘safe’, and place it on the ground which would be the exact position in which Aafia Siddiqui found hers and with which she is alleged to have fired upon the US officer. You may very well fail to even cock it in 10 seconds, let alone find the safety catch, lift the rifle to your shoulder and fire it. Would that you had recalled the disgrace his handlers brought your former boss, the good Gen Colin Powell, when they made him tell fibs on live TV about Iraq’s so-called weapons of mass destruction, before you sent your letter to the press.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It may be added here that one of the senators was S. M. Zafar, a very famous lawyer in Pakistan. Answering a question from journalists in New York he said that there was no need to meet Dr Aafia’s lawyers, as it was a case of human rights not a legal dispute (reported in International News Network). However, the questions raised by the emailer remain important, and if the senators know what they were doing then it won't hurt if they share it with the general public.
I read your entry about "Aafia speaks out" and I am more confused now than before that why Pakistani delegation paint a rosy picture of her condition. She is basically in sound mental and physical condition according to the delegation which is in sharp contrast with what her attorneys have been saying.
I also read that Aafia does not trust her lawyers. I know her lawyers at least one of them Liz Fink was the first one to make us all aware of her pitiful condition. I know first hand how challenging it is these days to question anything regarding terrorism- related issues in the US and of course she was mocked by some people in that crowd during that press briefing [watch video of press briefing - Khurram].
I am not an attorney and know very little about legal issues, but I know this for sure that any statement regarding Aafia's situation should have been shared with her lawyers before making it public. It boggles the mind why Pakistani delegation acted the way they did. I only hope that the delegation knew what they were doing and I am the one who is missing something here!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
On Tuesday, October 6, four Pakistani senators (Mushahid Hussain Syed, Sadia Abbasi, Talha Mehmood and S. M Zafar) and representative of Pakistani embassy Faqir Seed met her in Texas but unfortunately their account has not been properly covered in many news reports. One of the exceptions is Daily Times, whose correspondent Khalid Hasan has given a remarkably detailed account of what Aafia told the senators in a meeting which lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes.
According to her:
- She was on her way to the Karachi airport in 2003 with her children when she was taken. She remembers being given an injection and when she came to she was in a cell.
- She was being brainwashed by men who spoke perfect English. They could be Afghan or others. She did not think they were Pakistanis.
- She was being forced to admit things she had allegedly done. She was made to sign statements, some of which included information on phone calls she was said to have made.
- She has been tortured (but she provided no details).
- She was told by her captors that if she did not co-operate, her children would suffer (two of them are still missing).
- She said she did not know where her children were and it was not clear if they had been with her during her captivity.
- The assault case against her has no basis in fact.
- She expressed her lack of confidence in the court hearing her case and the US legal system
- She said she didn't trust the American lawyers who are representing her.
Aafia's version is not basically different from what the human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Asian Human Rights Commission have been suspecting for long (and it is not just Aafia's "family" or her "lawyers" who have been raising these allegations, although some news report attempt to give that impression).
The importance of this meeting cannot be exagerrated because now, finally, Aafia has narrated her side of the story in her own words, however incoherent she may be due to the stress she has been through. The world had been wanting to hear her side.
Friday, October 10, 2008
- Regional Times: Fouzia Siddiqui sees shifting of Dr Aafia as conspiracy to kill her
- The News International: US court’s psychiatric evaluation of Dr Aafia slated
- Daily Times: Bring my sister back immediately:Dr Fauzia
- The Nation: Sister rejects psychiatric evaluation orders of Aafia
And from elsewhere:
- Urgent Petition submitted on Care2 News Network: WE DON’T WANT DR. AAFIA TO CONTINUE TO SUFFER WHILE SHE WAITS FOR HER TRIAL!
- United4Justice: Shameful ruling by US court
"Shameful ruling by US court" is especially surprising. A bit too harsh?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
What I found on that page was not very pleasant, to say the least. Here is an excerpt:
Articles criticizing FMC Carswell have appeared in various media outlets relating to various forms of prisoner abuse. These articles focus on allegations of medical malpractice, neglect, and sexual abuse of inmates by staff. Indeed, over a seven-year period, seven FMC Carswell staff members were convicted of sexual abuse of a prisoner...
In May 2008, Vincent Inametti, 48, a Roman Catholic priest who worked as a chaplain at FMC Carswell, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay a $3000 fine after pleading guilty in November 2007 to two counts of sexual abuse of a ward.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Moneeza Ahmed, a liberal human rights activist from Pakistan makes the following observation about it:
During her years as an undergraduate and graduate student, Aafia was like a force of nature in her missionary zeal. She was very active in the Muslim Students' Association, in helping to manage a religious information (daw'ah) table in the MIT student center, in teaching Quran to recent converts to Islam, in prison ministry, and in collecting winter boots to send to Bosnia.
Candid? It seems so.
It's interesting how doing any work around Islam or even apparently being part of the Muslim Students Asssociation is so easily linked to being a terrorist - I mean she was tabling in an MIT student centre and collecting money for freezing kids in Bosnia. Give me a freaking break!
It's sad that the article which seems to be from a progressive site still thought that it was important to mention that she was engaged in Dawah and a member of the Muslims Students Association.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
It's interesting to note that according to Barrister Syed Iqbal Jafree of Pakistan, the suggestion originated from him but had a slightly different purport. Barrister Jafree, who is fighting the case for Aafia's repatriation in Pakistan, says in a comment posted on Miss Kelly blog:
I also wrote to US Attorney that Aafia is unfit to stand trial. That he should exercise prosecutorial discretion and withdraw charges even without prejudice, repatriate her and when she is well, commence proper extradition procedings in Pakistan. This will generate goodwill for USA. As an America, Harvard trained lawyer, I felt his writing to US Distt (Trial) Judge was unnecessary in response to my letter. [Read the rest of his comment]
It seems that the Pakistani press didn't report Barrister Jafree's letter. Or did I miss it?
The news report did not mention if Barrister Syed Iqbal Jafree, the petitioner, responded to this in the court but interestingly a comment was posted by him five days later on Miss Kelly, a blog of "musings on culture, politics, Catholicism, religion, sports and furry things". Here, he reiterates that Aafia is Pakistani citizen:
I may add that Aafia is not US citizen, but her son and daughter (except youngest son) are US citizens. [Read the rest of his comment]Another contradiction in the case? This one is baffling, to say the least!