Monday, January 19, 2009

Update - Aafia Siddiqi

I have followed the story of Aafia Siddiqi since I first read of her horrific ordeal last year. And her torture continues, in a more restrained way under the eye of media and the Pakistan government, as she remains in US custody. Keeping her case in the public eye is her only hope. Other stories on my blog can be found here.

I note here that a few of the more recent stories on her case are not accessible as the site in no longer accessible (must be link decay?). However the following three stories are up to date. Two of her children are still missing and a third is severely disturbed. I would appreciate any info anyone has on this.

One of interrogators was Indian at Bagram: Aafia

Pakistani scientist detained in US told Senate body
she was arrested from Pakistan and later shifted to Bagram

By Muhammad Bilal

ISLAMABAD: Dr Aafia Siddiqi — a Pakistani national on trial in the United States – has alleged that one of the interrogators at the Bagram airbase was an Indian, according to a report by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Dr Aafia has narrated her entire story to a delegation of the committee that went to see her, telling them how she was arrested from Pakistan and later shifted to Bagram.

The delegation – headed by Mushahid Hussain Syed – visited the US in October last year and held a meeting with the detained Pakistani scientist.

The report presented to a joint meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights and Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs here on Thursday says that Aafia told the senators that she was travelling in a taxi to her maternal uncle’s house when she was arrested, and she later found that she had been taken to Afghanistan.

She did not know where she was taken, as she had problem recollecting and reconciling dates and places.

The report says in Bagram, Aafia was ‘tortured’, but the Afghans did not ‘humiliate’ her. Her three children – two sons and a daughter – were taken away from her, and she was told her children would be returned only if she confessed to meeting certain people. She, however, did not disclose the names of the people in question. She feared that this forced confession could go against her in Pakistan. She also feared that her third child, named Suleman, may have been killed.

Dr Aafia alleged that one of the interrogators in Bagram was an Indian – who was her contemporary at MIT and was interested in her research work. She was repeatedly asked to do similar research for the ‘interrogator countries’. Her interrogators in Afghanistan spoke in American accent and Hindi. Dr Aafia also did not disclose the questions asked by the interrogators.

Referring to the incident which became a basis for the institution of a case against her in the US, she said that at the detention centre, she got up and heard a US soldier shouting ‘she is loose’ – and a US captain fired at her, injuring her abdomen.

She fell to the ground and when she regained consciousness, she heard one of the soldiers say ‘we could lose our jobs’. In the US court, she is charged with pulling a gun at a uniformed officer. Aafia denies that charge. The prosecutors deny that she was fired at, and to conceal the facts “a surgery was performed on me”.

Nisar urges charge sheet against US
for making objectionable video of Aafia

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate’s Standing Committee for Defence Nisar Memon has urged to summon US ambassador in the session and present a charge sheet against USA for an making objectionable video of Dr Aafia in New York jail. More here.

Senate bodies slam Aafia’s detention,
Gaza assault

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: A joint meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Relations Committee passed two unanimous resolutions condemning Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui’s detention in the US and Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians.

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