TIMELINE: LINKS (page 3)
The links, below, are listed in chronological order, beginning in March 2003, then continuing through the 5-year disappearance of Aafia Siddiqui and her children, and on into the present.
The proverbial “smoking gun” appears during March-April 2003. During this time period:
- Various news agencies (CNN, Boston Glove, UPI) reported that Aafia Siddiqui’s name had surfaced during the “interrogation” of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (which we now know involved 183 waterboarding sessions).
- In the wake of the revelations from the Mohammed interrogations, the FBI issued an alert, on March 18, for Aafia Siddiqui.
- On March 31, Aafia and her three children disappeared.
- On April 3, various news agencies (NBC, Associated Press) report that, according to U.S. law enforcement officials and U.S. intelligence officils, Aafia Siddiqui was recently captured and was being held for interroation at an “undisclosed location.”
- On April 4th, the FBI “backed off” their initial claim, explaining that it had been a case of mistaken identity.
- Aafia was not seen or heard from again for over 5 years.
There has been much said and written regarding Aafia Siddiqui’s case, most of this originating outside the U.S. A certain degree of sensationalism is understandable, given both the nature of her case and the frustration over the scant, often conflicting “official” information given on her case from the governments of the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the timeline below, I’ve endeavored to list only those articles that, in my estimation, reflect the available facts (with my editorial notes written in green). Of course, until her case receives the benefit of an independent investigation, due process and a fair trial, “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” will remain wholly unknowable. Having said this, I welcome any additions readers can offer to this list.
NOTE: My apologies for the crappy formatting throughout — especially the lack of spaces and the tiny font, with its accompanying eye strain halfway down. I have no explanation for this mishmash. My attempts to correct it have been unsuccessful.
March 1, 2003 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is captured by the FBI
March 18, 2003: The FBI issues an alert for Aafia Siddiqui (link no longer available)
March 20, 2003: The U.S. invades Iraq
March 27, 2003 Daily Times Pakistan Pakistani couple sought in Qaeda hunt
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: The FBI is seeking a Pakistani couple for its links to a Saudi resident of South Florida with suspected Al Qaeda connections. The Bureau’s Baltimore office said it was looking for Dr Aafia Siddiqui, 31, and her husband Mohammed Khan, 33, about possible terrorist activities. The couple is suspected of having links with Adnan G El Shukrijumah, 27, who once lived in Miami but has since disappeared. The US agency believes he has links with Al Qaeda.
The FBI is looking for El Shukrijumah after an alias he used turned up in various places, including during the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Dr Siddiqui, a resident of the Boston area, is said to have visited Gaithersburg, Maryland, in December last year or January, but the FBI would not say what significance that visit had and whom she met. The agency believes she may have valuable information….
In another development, the authorities announced this week that they would be interrogating 11,000 Iraqis living in the US, most of them American citizens. The move was immediately denounced as ‘racial profiling’.
“So we’ve got now suspicion predicated only on national origin extending to US citizens,” according to David Cole of Georgetown University. “That’s exactly what we had during World War-II with Japanese Americans. What you see when you look at history is that measures that are adopted initially during wartime often get extended into peacetime and often get expanded to reach a broad segment of the American public.”
March 29, 2003 United Press International (link no longer available) reports that the FBI purportedly believes Aafia may be a “fixer” for al-Qaeda, moving money to support terrorist operations.
March 30, 2008: Aafia and her three children depart from her mother’s home.
The four of them leave by taxi, destined for Islamabad, reportedly to visit her uncle. An alternate account indicates that she intended to go into hiding, in the wake of the FBI alert for her capture.
Regardless of the reason for her departure, the fact remains that Aafia and her three children disappeared on this day. Within 3 days of her disappearance, the FBI and Pakistani authorities reported that she’d been captured and was being held in an undisclosed location for interrogation. Three weeks later, they denied that she’d been captured, explaining it as a case of mistaken identity.
April 3, 2003 NBC News: Woman Sought By FBI Reportedly Arrested In Pakistan
Neurologist Questioned By FBI For Alleged Al-Qaida Links
U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly interrogating a Pakistani woman alleged to have moved funds and assisted with logistics planning for al-Qaida.
According to the Press Trust of India in an article published on its Web site Thursday, the woman has been identified as 31-year-old Aafia Siddiqui, who was being sought by U.S. officials last week along with two other men, including one whose last known address was in Miramar, Fla.
According to the PTI, Siddiqui was arrested in Karachi recently after returning from an overseas trip last month. (read full text here)
April 3, 2003 CNN (link no longer available) reports that al Qaeda operative, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, arrested on March 1, mentioned Dr. Aafia Siddiqui during “interrogation.” [As we now know, Mohammed's interrogations involved 183 waterboarding sessions over the month of March 2003.]
April 3, 2003 Boston Herald (link no longer available) Aafia Siddiqui’s name reportedly “surfaced” during the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was captured by the FBI on March 1, 2003.
April 4, 2003 The Tech (campus newspaper of MIT in Massachusetts) Reported Capture of MIT Alumna Denied by FBI
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has denied several reports that it has captured Aafia Siddiqui ’95 in Pakistan. Siddiqui is wanted for questioning by the FBI in connection with its investigation of al-Qaida. Several newspapers in India and Pakistan have recently reported her capture and interrogation by American officials, citing unnamed sources.
“I don’t know where those reports came from,” said John Iannarelli, a special agent with the FBI’s national press office. “She is not in custody,” he said, and is “certainly not being interviewed by the FBI at this time. We’re still looking for her.”
A spokesperson for the FBI’s Boston office, which is leading the investigation, said that as far as the FBI is aware, Siddiqui has not been arrested by any other nation either.
Siddiqui has not been charged with a crime, and the FBI’s poster on its Web site stresses that “the FBI has no information indicating [Siddiqui] is connected to specific terrorist activities.”
Siddiqui reportedly drew the FBI’s attention when she was either named by reputed senior al-Qaida operative Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, captured by the FBI March 1 in Pakistan — as CNN reported last night without attribution — or linked to alleged terrorist Adnan El Shukrijumah, “whose name surfaced among the belongings of” Mohammed — as The Boston Herald reported, also without attribution.
The FBI purportedly believes Siddiqui may be a “fixer” for al-Qaida, moving money to support terrorist operations, United Press International reported March 29….
“I’ve got to tell you, if you’re looking for an al-Qaida person, I think you’d pick her, out of 100 people, 99th or something,” said Gerald Ross, her former Boston landlord, to the Associated Press yesterday.
April 22, 2003 Associated Press: Woman Accused of al-Qaida Ties Held
By CURT ANDERSON Associated Press Writer
A former Boston woman sought by the FBI for questioning about possible ties to the al-Qaida terror network is in custody in Pakistan, U.S. law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Aafia Siddiqui, 31, was detained by Pakistani authorities in the past few days and was being interrogated at an undisclosed location. She originally is from Pakistan.
The FBI in March put out a global alert for Siddiqui, who has a biology degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and wrote a doctoral thesis on neurological sciences at Brandeis University in 2001. She also visited the Maryland suburbs near Washington in December or January, officials say. (read full text here)
April 22, 2003 USA Today: Pakistani woman in custody unlikely the one sought
WASHINGTON (AP) — After initial optimism Tuesday, U.S. law enforcement officials backed off claims that Pakistan had detained a former Boston woman wanted by the FBI for questioning about possible links to al-Qaeda.
Two federal law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, initially said 31-year-old Aafia Siddiqui recently was taken into custody by Pakistani authorities.
Pakistani officials never confirmed the arrest and later the U.S. officials amended their earlier statements, saying new information from the Pakistani government made it “doubtful” she was in custody.
It was not clear whether a different woman had been arrested or if the initial information was wrong or misconstrued by U.S. officials. (read full text here)
June 23, 2003 Newsweek Al Qaeda In America: The Enemy Within. — (According to pg. 3 of this article, Aafia Siddiqui — accused of orchestrating terrorist plots in the U.S. — was “reportedly arrested” in Pakistan in 2003.]
[NOTE: The Newsweek article, above, should be required reading for anyone who has forgotten the climate of fear that was cultivated thoughout the Bush-Cheney era, most especially during the years 2001-2005. This article, like so many of that era, is riddled with quotes from "unnamed" and "anonymous" U.S. officials who -- for security reasons, mind you -- could never speak for the record, when making outrageous claims about terrorist plots.
According to this article, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (whose confessions compose most of the laundry list of terrorist plots) had "probably not been tortured, at least in the traditional sense," but was likely interrogated using more "refined" methods, such as "sleep deprivation."
This is utter bullshit, as we now know. The CIA tortured the shit out of Mohammed, including, but not exclusive to the 183 waterboarding sessions. By his own admission, he made false confessions about plots on American soil, "in order to make the ill-treatment stop."
No matter how scary or guilty Mohammed truly is, the fact remains that many, if not all of the terrorist plots in this Newsweek article (e.g. cutting the suspension wires on the Brooklyn Bridge, blowing up gas stations in Baltimore) were extracted under torture. The plots sound scary, to be sure. No wonder so many Americans (politicians included) plunged their heads into the sand during this era, giving Bush-Cheney free rein with the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Which is to say that this Newsweek article was written during the heyday of the Bush-Cheney fearmongering, back when they could get away with saying and doing anything, no questions asked. ]
As one (unnamed) law enforcement officer told Newsweek, “We’re making this up as we go along. It’s a brave new world out there.”
FBI Poster Issued March 2004:
Date of Birth Used: 2 March 1972
Place of Birth: Karachi, Pakistan
Height: 5´4˝/163 cm
Weight: 110 lbs/56 kg
Date of Birth Used: 2 March 1972 Place of Birth: Karachi, Pakistan Height: 5´4˝/163 cm Weight: 110 lbs/56 kg Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown
REMARKS: Aafia Siddiqui’s whereabouts are unknown.
WANTED: Although the FBI has no information indicating this individual is connected to specific terrorist activities, the FBI would like to locate and question her. If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office if you are in the United States, or the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you prefer to use E-mail, send your information to email@example.com. If you prefer to use the telephone, please call 1-800-US REWARDS.
April 7, 2004 Newsweek: Terror Watch: Tangled Ties — Extensive coverage on Aafia Siddiqui’s purported financial ties with terrorism. A few excerpts from this 3-page article:
Within weeks of the September 11 terror attacks, security officers at the Fleet National Bank in Boston had identified “suspicious” wire transfers from the Saudi Embassy in Washington that eventually led to the discovery of an active Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” that may have been planning follow-up attacks inside the United States, according to documents obtained by NEWSWEEK.
…. Internal FBI documents showed that, after his capture in March 2003, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed told U.S. interrogators that Siddiqui was supposed to support “other AQ operatives as they entered the United States.” Agents also found evidence that she had rented a post-office box to help another Baltimore-based Al Qaeda contact who had been assigned by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to blow up underground gasoline-storage tanks.
…. In addition to the expenditures for high-tech military equipment–items that seemed unusual for a microbiologist–the security officers found that Siddiqui was making regular debit-card payments to one Islamic charity, Benevolence International, that was under active investigation by federal agents for raising funds for terrorist causes. (The charity has since been shut down and its founder jailed.) In addition, Siddiqui was found to be active with the Al-Kifah Refugee Center, another Islamic charity that was ostensibly raising funds for Bosnian orphans but which also was under scrutiny by federal investigators.
May 27, 2004 BBC: Pakistani ‘al-Qaeda’ woman named
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States has named a Pakistani woman among seven dangerous al-Qaeda suspects plotting an attack. The FBI says that that Aafia Siddiqui could be planning strikes in the US or against US targets overseas.
A former student from the city of Boston, Miss Siddiqui is now reported to be underground in Pakistan. But Pakistani officials say they have no idea where she is, and efforts to trace her have not been successful…..
Pakistani officials have meanwhile said they were making efforts to trace Miss Siddiqui. “We have tried to locate her, but she has apparently gone underground. We do not know why,” a senior Pakistani security official told the Associated Press news agency. “It is not in our knowledge if she in Pakistan or somewhere else,” he said.
Miss Siddiqui’s mother said in 2003 that she had last seen her daughter in April of that year when she took a minicab from Karachi to Islamabad. (read full text here)
May 29, 2004 Dawn An interior ministry spokesman on Friday confirmed that Dr Aafia Siddiqui, allegedly involved in terrorist activities, had been arrested in 2003 from Karachi and handed over to the US authorities.
…. In 2003, Dr Fawzia, Dr Aafia’s elder sister along with the minister for religious affairs Ijazul Haq had called on interior minister Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat in Islamabad to know the whereabouts of her sister.
On this occasion, the interior minister was quoted by her father as saying: “According to my information, Dr Aafia has already been released and Dr Fawzia should wait for her sister’s call at home.”
May 29, 2004 Asia Africa Intelligence Wire: Faisal terms report on handing over Aafia to US baseless.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Financial Times Ltd. (From Pakistan Press International Information Services Limited)
ISLAMABAD, May 29 : Interior Minister, Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat has termed baseless and a bunch of lies a report published in some section of press with reference to handing over Dr Aafia, having dual Pakistani and American nationalities, to US authorities in 2003…. (read full text here)
October 2004 Boston Magazine: Who’s Afraid of Aafia Siddiqui?
By Katherine Ozment
She went to MIT and Brandeis, married a Brigham and Women’s physician, made her home in Boston, cared for her children, and raised money for charities. Aafia Siddiqui was a normal woman living a normal American life. Until the FBI called her a terror….. (read the full text here of this comprehensive story. Written 18 months after her disappearance, this piece covers many of the details on Aafia Siddiqui’s life in America, as well her disappearance and the allegations made against her by U.S. authorities).
September 22, 2006 Boston Globe (linked from CommonDreams) : Fate of Some CIA Detainees Still Unknown: Missing Boston Woman Among Them, Kin Say
by Farah Stockman
WASHINGTON – President Bush’s announcement this month that the CIA has emptied out its secret prisons has raised new questions about what has happened to dozens of Al Qaeda suspects who were believed to have been in US custody.
One of them is Aafia Siddiqui , an MIT-educated Pakistani scientist and Roxbury mother of three who disappeared with her children in 2003. A newly declassified government document says Siddiqui married a top Al Qaeda operative who is among the 14 suspects moved by President Bush from a secret prison to Guantánamo Bay for trials.
But the document gave no further information on Siddiqui’s whereabouts…. (read full text here)
January 1, 2007 LeftTurn: Aafia Siddiqui: Another Person Disappeared in the War on Terror
[The above site contains a thoughtful piece written by Cullen Goldblatt, who had spent the previous 6 months researching Aafia Siddiqui and compiling information on her life and her disappearance].
June 7, 2007 Amnesty International briefing paper: USA: Off the Record. U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the “War on Terror”
[NOTE: Aafia Siddiqui is #33 on the list of disappeared individuals in the above paper, under the category, "Individuals about whom there is some evidence of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown."]
————– JULY thru SEPTEMBER 2008 ——————
July 24, 2008 Asian Human Rights Commission: Urgent Appeals Programme
PAKISTAN/USA: A lady doctor remains missing with her three children five years after her arrest
ISSUES: Disappearance; rape; violence against women; torture; right to liberty and security; arbitrary arrest and detention
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that Dr. Afia Siddiqui, was arrested along with her three children by a Pakistani intelligence agency in early 2003 and has been missing since then. American and Pakistani intelligence agencies confirmed that she had been arrested in connection with Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organisation run by Osama Bin Laden. However, later both agencies denied that she had been arrested. Dr. Afia’s whereabouts remain unknown but it is suspected that she is being held in an American detention centre. (FOLLOW LINK, ABOVE, FOR FULL TEXT OF THIS APPEAL)
[NOTE: The above human rights appeal was issued on July 24, 2008. The publicity and outcry from this and other appeals is believed by some to have prompted the FBI's August 4, 2008 announcement that they had "discovered" and arrested Aafia Siddiqui (see next link, below) While I cannot confirm the timeline on these events, it does appear that the U.S. Department of Justice did not announce her capture until August 4, 2008, even as they cited her "discovery" and arrest as taking place on July 17, one week before the Asian Human Rights Commission Urgent Appeal was issued on behalf of Aafia Siddiqui]
July 31, 2008 FBI Document: Complaint against Aafia Siddiqui (pdf file) lists specific charges (web page copy available here)
August 4, 2008 U.S. Department of Justice Press Release: Aafia Siddiqui Arrested for Attempting to Kill United States Officers in Afghanistan
NEW YORK- Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mark J. Mershon, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the arrest of Aafia Siddiqui on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan. Siddiqui arrived in New York this evening and will be presented tomorrow before a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:
On July 17, 2008, officers of the Ghazni Province Afghanistan National Police (“ANP”) observed Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound. ANP officers questioned Siddiqui, regarded her as suspicious, and searched her handbag. In it, they found numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal. Siddiqui’s papers included descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City. Siddiqui was also in possession of substances that were sealed in bottles and glass jars…. (read full text here)
August 4, 2008 Asian Human Rights Commission: STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
PAKISTAN: FBI is responsible for disappearances, illegal detention and torture
On 24th July the Asian Human Rights Commission issued an Urgent Appeal in the case of the disappearance of a lady doctor. The UA, PAKISTAN/USA: A lady doctor remains missing with her three children five years after her arrest, may be seen at: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2008/2947/
The American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), initially admitted that they had arrested Dr. Afia and then later denied it. Now, due to the coverage of the UA both in Pakistan and internationally, the FBI has now announced that “Dr. Afia Siddiqui is alive, she is in Afghanistan but she is injured”. No further details have been provided and the AHRC is especially concerned about the three children who were also abducted along with her. It is reported that after receiving hundreds of responses to the UA initiated by the AHRC, the American and Pakistani authorities were compelled to issue information of the whereabouts of Afia Siddiqui who had been missing for five years after being arrested by the Pakistani Intelligence Agency. Acting on the information received, the AHRC in its appeal suspected that Dr. Afia is being kept in Bagram jail, Afghanistan, and that because of severe torture, had lost her mind. At this point people responded in their hundreds which pressured the American authorities. On 1st August an FBI official visited the house of Dr. Afia’s brother in Houston to deliver the news that she is alive and in custody, Ms. Elaine Whitfield Sharp, Dr. Afia’s lawyer, said that FBI officials would not say exactly who is holding her or reveal the fate of her three young, American-born children.
It is also reported that after filing a habeas corpus writ petition in the Islamabad High Court, Dr. Afia’s friends and relatives were threatened by several state agencies of Pakistan to withdraw the case or face the same situation.
After the confirmation from the American FBI that she is in Afghanistan and that she is injured, the entire responsibility for Dr. Afia’s abduction, being held incommunicado for five years, her torture, illegal detention, illegal handing over to a foreign country and the fate of her three children, lies squarely with the FBI and Pakistani state agencies, particularly the Pakistani ISI, who is currently threatening the family members to remain silent.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the UN Human Rights Commission and other Human Rights offices to start an immediate probe into the illegal arrest and detention of Dr. Afia and immediately investigate the situation of the children. The government of America, Afghanistan and Pakistan must bring the perpetrators of such gross human rights violations to trial. NATO, America and its allied forces should be asked to immediately release Dr. Afia Siddiqui and her three children and provide mental and physical rehabilitation to the victims along with substantial compensation.
August 5, 2008 Jurist (University of Pittsburgh School of Law) Pakistan woman alleged to be al-Qaeda agent appears in US court
August 5, 2008 AFP and New York Times: Pakistani Suspected of Qaeda Ties Is Held
WASHINGTON — An American-trained Pakistani neuroscientist with ties to operatives of Al Qaeda has been charged with trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents in a police station in Afghanistan last month, the Justice Department said Monday night. (read full text here)
August 5, 2008 Times Online UK: Female ‘terror’ scientist Aafia Siddiqui facing US court after extradition The case of Aafia Siddiqui, 36, has caused an outcry in Pakistan amid sharply differing accounts of events.
(video, above) August 6, 2008 Al Jazerra report on the peculiar circumstances surrounding Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest in July 2008. Includes statements made by her attorney and her family
August 6, 2008 Los Angeles Times: Siddiqui arrest brings attention to the ‘disappeared’ issue in Pakistan
The high-profile arrest of a Pakistani woman suspected of Al Qaeda links casts a spotlight on an issue her nation’s fledgling civilian government has been slow to confront: years of official secrecy surrounding the fate of hundreds of people rounded up as terrorism suspects.
Some human rights activists believe that Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani-born neuroscientist who appeared Tuesday in federal district court in New York, was originally “disappeared” by Pakistani authorities five years ago, possibly at U.S. behest…. (read full text here)
August 7, 2008 Christian Science Monitor: Pakistani woman accused of aiding Al Qaeda operatives appears in court. The case against Aafia Siddiqui, who has been missing since 2003, raises questions about illegal detention centers across Pakistan…
August 7, 2008 Dawn.com: Aafia Siddiqui appears in US court, denied bail
August 7 2008 Free Detainees.org: Aafia Siddiqui & Children
August 7, 2008 Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific: (series of three August 2008 articles on Aafia Siddiqui’s case)
[NOTE: The following piece was written by Yvonne Ridley -- herself a former prisoner at Bagram -- who alleges that it was her investigation into the "Gray Lady of Bagram," said to be Aafia Siddiqui -- along with Ms. Ridley's press conference 2 weeks earlier, demanding that the U.S. release this prisoner -- that prompted the FBI's serendipitous "discovery" of Aafia Siddiqui in July of 2008.]
August 7, 2008 Yvonne Ridley: Hoover, the FBI and Aafia Siddiqui
…. Does the FBI really think we are all that stupid and gullible?
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – who had been sought by the FBI for several years regarding terrorism according to their website – is accused of shooting at two FBI special agents, a US Army warrant officer, an Army captain and military interpreters who unknowingly entered a room where she was being held unsecured.
She fired two shots, but hit no one, officials said. The warrant officer returned fire with a pistol, shooting Siddiqui at least once. She struggled with the officers before she lost consciousness, said officials, adding that she received medical attention.
The day before the shootings, Afghan police had arrested Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound after finding bomb-making instructions, excerpts from the “Anarchist’s Arsenal,” papers with descriptions of US landmarks and substances sealed 20 in bottles and glass jars.
This all happened two weeks after I had given a press conference in Islamabad calling on the US to handover Prisoner 650 – The Grey lady of Bagram.
Coincidence? May be – but if the FBI think that we are going to buy the bovine scatterings they have just released to the US media they really do live in La La Land.
Let’s look at the cold hard fact of the case….. (read full text here)
August 8, 2008 (video, above) Protest by the citizens of Islamabad for the release of Aafia Siddiqui. Includes outcry by Aafia Siddiqui’s sister. Protesters’ signs include one reading, “Can a 6-month old baby be a terrorist?”
August 8, 2008 Asian Human Rights Commission: URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME: The US Congress must investigate Dr. Afia’s case
August 9, 2008 The Hindu: The Mystery of Aafia Siddiqui — A diamond-smuggling Al Qaeda operative or an innocent Pakistani woman whose only crime was her Islamic identity and her headscarf?
Last week, the U.S. government acknowledged that Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated Pakistani neuroscientist, missing since March 2003, was in its custody. But it said Ms Siddiqui, who was wanted by the FBI for her alleged links to Al Qaeda, was arrested only in July this year.
The U.S. acknowledgement came almost exactly a month after Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist who spent 11 days as a Taliban captive in 2001 and has since converted to Islam, held a press conference in Islamabad at which she claimed that an unidentified Pakistani woman was being held in solitary confinement at the U.S.-run detention centre at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan since 2004.
The journalist said the woman was Bagram’s prisoner number 650, adding that other prisoners had spoken of hearing a woman’s screams in the prison.
“I call her the Grey Lady of Bagram because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her,” Ms Ridley said. “We don’t know her identity, we don’t know her state of mind and we don’t know the extent of the abuse or torture she has been subjected to.” (read full text here)
Appearing with Ms Ridley, Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, said the woman could be Aafia Siddiqui, last seen by her mother in March 2003 as she left home in Karachi with her three children, one of them an infant, to board a plane to Islamabad.
The claim created ripples in Pakistan. As questions arose, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry was emphatic about its information from the U.S. government that it was not holding any Pakistani woman at Bagram. But the issue refused to die down, reappearing again and again as Pakistanis began voicing their concern for the safety of the woman. There were demonstrations in Karachi calling for her release. People protested through letters to the editor columns of newspapers, and more intensely, on blogs. International human rights organisations such as the Amnesty International, on whose list of missing she already was, and the Asian Human Rights Watch, joined in the calls for her release.
Last Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed Ms Siddiqui’s brother in Houston that she was in U.S. custody. Earlier this week, she was produced in a New York court, charged with attempting to kill American soldiers. She had a fresh bullet wound and media reports said she looked frail and “ghostly.” (read full text here)
August 8, 2008 (video, above) Protest by the citizens of Islamabad for the release of Aafia Siddiqui. Includes outcry by Aafia Siddiqui’s sister. Protesters’ signs include one reading, “Can a 6-month old baby be a terrorist?”
August 9, 2008 (video, above) Protest for Aafia Siddiqui/Speech by Yvonne Ridley
August 11, 2008 Reuters: Pakistani accused of U.S. troop attack gets doctor (Reuters report on Aafia Siddiqui — a prisoner in U.S. care — as she finally receives medical care, 4 weeks after being shot in the abdomen).
August 12, 2008 (video, above) Press Conference in Islamabad on the legal and human rights issues, along with the many unanswered questions in the Aafia Siddiqui case.
August 18, 2008 Muslim Matters: The Grey Lady of Bagram: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. A new chapter in the long and painful saga of the “War on Terror” has been revealed to the public. The facts are murky, the details impossible to confirm.
August 25, 2008 Cageprisoners: Dr.Aafia Siddiqui Press Conference Today
August 26, 2008 Muslim Matters: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Press Conference Photos & Story
August 26, 2008 Human Rights Watch: Afghanistan: Free Aafia Siddiqui’s 11-Year-Old Son — Child is Too Young to be Treated as a Criminal Suspect
August 26, 2008 Associated Press of Pakistan: Lawyer demands Dr Aafia’s shifting to hospital for urgent treatment
August 26, 2008 Washington Post: Afghan Officials Detain American Boy, U.S. Says Mother Held by U.S. as Al-Qaeda Suspect
August 26, 2008 UPI: Al-Qaida suspect’s U.S. son held
August 27, 2008 Muslim Matters: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Press Conference Notes & Action-Alerts
August 29, 2008 The Muslim News: Alleged al-Qa’ida suspect denied medical treatment
Wheelchair-bound and only able to communicate with her lawyer through a hole at the bottom of her cell door, Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a ghost of the vibrant woman she was six years ago, and looks a far cry from the stark picture painted by US authorities as the vicious al-Qa’ida suspect charged with assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder on FBI officers while in custody.
August 31, 2008 ThaindianNews: Afghan Government to Free Pakistan Terror Suspect Dr. Aafia’s Son Soon:
After repeated requests from Islamabad, the Afghanistan Government has reportedly promised to Pakistan to return soon one of the three sons of Pakistani scientist and terror suspect Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who was arrested in Afghanistan earlier this month and presently being tried in the US for terror charges. The New York-based human rights body the Human Rights Watch had also urged the Afghan government earlier this week to free the child, who is said to be a US citizen by birth.
September 1, 2008 NewsPostOnline: Boy found with “terrorist suspect” Dr. Aafia is her son, but denies. Ahmed, the 11-year-old boy said to have been apprehended along with ‘terror suspect’ Pakistani-American doctor Aafia Siddiqui was identified as her son, although he denies that he is in any way related to her.
[A REMINDER: This 11 year-old boy is legally a U.S. citizen. He was arrested with his mother in mid-July 2008. International law forbids treating children as criminals, yet he has been interrogated at least several times by the FBI and has been held in the custody of Afghan’s intelligence service for the past 6 weeks, with his whereabout for the preceding 5 years yet unknown. Considering that the U.S. stands accused of abuse and/or torture of detainee children (see references to this throughout the links on this page ) it is haunting to contemplate the circumstances that would compel an 11 year-old child to deny being related to hs own mother, while — at the same time — being unable to give details on his ‘real’ family.)
September 1, 2008 PakTribune: Dr Aafia to be shifted to better facility soon:
US authorities have indicated to the Pakistan government that Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is suffering from bullet wounds, will be shifted to another facility by next week, which is less intrusive and offers better medical care.
September 1, 2008 RadianceViewsWeekly: Musharraf’s Nemesis
What luck for rulers that men do not think, said Adolf Hitler. The Fuhrer should know, having proved himself a successful, if rather demented, leader of men. Successive rulers of Islamic Republic of Pakistan seem to have been driven by this cynical piece of wisdom….. Perhaps, Musharraf could have gone on and hung on in there for some more time, if only he had not so enthusiastically enlisted Pakistan in Bush’s war. Maybe our man had no option but jump on the neocon bandwagon when Colin Powell made that rather persuasive call on a cold day in September, the day the greatest military power on earth was shaken to its roots. Maybe it has spared Pakistan the fate of Afghanistan and brought it billions in US aid. But what the country has gained by joining this directionless, disastrous war is nothing compared to what it has lost. Thousands of innocents have paid with their lives for the Bush-Mush war. And God only knows how many individuals like Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the MIT-educated scientist, have simply disappeared into the nameless gulags around the world. And the whole country, coupled with Afghanistan, has been transformed into a vast battlefield; the main front of the war that, we are reassured, is being fought for the promotion of Democracy and Human Freedom, whatever that means….
September 2, 2008 TheNews: Afghan Government Contacts Aafia’s Sister The government of Afghanistan contacted the family of Dr Aafia Siddiqui late on Sunday night and assured Aafia’s sister that they were ready to hand over her 11-year old son Ahmed Siddiqui to the family.
September 3, 2008 Muslim Matters: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Court Hearing (announcement of date change)
September 4, 2008 Voice of America: Mystery Shrouds Case of Pakistani Scientist Linked to Terrorists -
A Pakistani woman who is charged with trying to murder U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan refused to appear for her arraignment in New York City Thursday. Defense lawyers say Aafia Siddiqui is unable or unwilling to submit to a required strip-search due to wounds she suffered when she was arrested nearly two months ago and that she urgently needs medical and psychological care. VOA’s Walter Wisniewski has more.
September 5, 2008 The Tech (campus newspaper of the MIT in Massachusetts, Aafia Siddiqui’s alma mater): Refusing Strip Searches, Siddiqui Denied Visitors and Calls, Misses Her Indictment
September 5, 2008 Daily Times: Aafia Siddiqui refuses to appear in court, in protest -Dr Aafia Siddiqui refused to appear in a New York court on Thursday in protest against the humiliating treatment to which she is being subjected and because of her traumatised physical, mental and emotional condition.
September 5, 2008 Washington Post: Pakistani Tortured, Her Attorney Says
Lawyer Calls for Mental Evaluation — Lawyer Elizabeth Fink told a federal judge in New York that Aafia Siddiqui, who disappeared in Pakistan with her three children in March 2003, needs a full psychological evaluation to determine whether she has post-traumatic stress disorder and is competent to help in her own defense. Fink also urged that Siddiqui, 36, be examined by experts on the effects of torture.
September 10, 2008 Counterpunch: The Horrendous Case of Aafia Siddiqui
September 13, 2008 DAWN Aafia Siddiqui Suffering From Psychosis Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, incarcerated in a New York prison, was diagnosed with chronic depressive-type psychosis, according to court documents released on Thursday.
September 14, 2008 Daily Times – Pakistan Asian Human Rights Commission slams detention of Dr. Aafia’s son
September 14, 2008 Daily Times – Pakistan: Pak Senators Refused Access to Guantanamo Detainees, Granted Permission to See Aafia Siddiqui
September 15-16 New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post (various articles on the release of Aafia Siddiqui’s son, Ahmed Siddiqui)
[NOTE:The reports from the above 3 papers are included here only because they are part of the timeline. The lack of journalistic curiosity by the writers of these articles is as puzzling as it is apparent to anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of this case. Too, none of these papers saw fit to verify the boy's correct name, choosing instead to call him by the name, "Ali Hassan" - one of several alisases used in U.S.-Afghan documentation. A more factually-based treatment of this story is given in the BBC article, below].
September 15, 2008 – BBC: Detainee’s son handed to Pakistan
September 16, 2008 Arab News Afghanistan frees son of Pak scientist held by U.S.
September 23, 2008 Reuters A U.S. judge entered a plea of innocent on Tuesday on behalf of a Pakistani woman suspected of links to al Qaeda who prosecutors say may be unfit to face charges of trying to kill U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan.
September 24, 2008 Jurist (Pittsburgh School of Law) US judge orders psychiatric evaluation of Pakistan woman alleged to be al Qaeda agent
September 16, 2008 Dawn Media: Aafia’s son freed by Kabul, flown to Islamabad
A 12-year-old son of neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui was handed over to his aunt Fauzia Siddiqui here on Monday after years of detention in a US military base in Afghanistan.
Touching scenes were witnessed when Mohammad Ahmed, wearing white Shalwar Qameez, was brought to Dr Fauzia Siddiqui’s house in Sector F-7/1 amid tight security. He was warmly hugged by his aunt.
According to published reports, Ahmed was only six when he and his mother, a brother and a sister were abducted from Karachi in 2003. Later they were reportedly handed over to US authorities.
“He is traumatised and quite afraid but seems to be in good health,” Dr Fauzia told journalists after the boy had been handed over to her by officials of the interior ministry and intelligence agencies. …
September 29, 2008 Karin Friedemann British MP intervenes for Aafia Siddiqui :
“Quite by chance I had the fortune of meeting British MP Lord Nazir Baron Ahmed, [of Rotherham in the County of South Yorkshire] at the Friday prayer. He was passing through Boston on his way to New York where he planned to speak to Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyer in order to put some pressure on the US authorities to allow the sister to be hospitalized and treated for her gunshot wound as well as severe post-traumatic stress. In a phone conversation the next day, the Honorable Lord Ahmed shared with me how he came to know about her tragic fate….” (see full text here)
————– OCTOBER thru DECEMBER 2008 ——————
October 1, 2008 Reuters Aafia Siddiqui, 36, will undergo a month-long medical assessment, treatment and psychological examination before a special competency hearing to determine if she is “medically fit and mentally competent” to stand trial, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ordered.
October 3, 2008 Associated Press of Pakistan Pakistan’s ambassador to US, Hussain Haqqani has demanded that US should immediately hand over Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan. According to Geo News he said there are better facilities of psychiatric evaluation and treatment in Pakistan.
October 3, 2008 Asian Human Rights Commission statement: USA/PAKISTAN: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is removed to a psychological facility and denied access to her family, lawyers and her government.
According to information issued by the Ambassador for Pakistan in the United States Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who was missing along with her three children since March 2003 and arrested by American military personnel in Afghanistan on July 16, 2008, was removed from the New York prison where she was being detained to a facility in Texas. The alleged purpose for this transfer is purportedly for psychological counseling. Dr. Aafia was due to meet with a delegation from the Pakistani Senate next week. Since her removal to this facility she has had no contact with her lawyers and family members.
October 5, 2008 Online International News Network Extradition of Dr. Aafia: Interior Ministry asked to submit detail reply within a week
October 6, 2008 Nation (KARACHI) : Sister rejects psychiatric evaluation orders of Aafia
Dr Fouzia Siddiqui, sister of detained Dr Aafia Siddiqui, has thanked government of Pakistan for all its cooperation through resolutions and statements in support of her illegally incarcerated sister in United States. She said that the best treatment that her sister should get was to be repatriated to Pakistan immediately.
October 7, 2008 Daily Times: KARACHI, Oct. 7: Bring my sister back immediately
Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, the sister of the imprisoned Dr Aafia Siddiqui, has alleged that despite court orders being issued, the United States government has not made arrangements for Dr Aafia’s treatment and Dr Fauzia expressed grave concern over her sister’s deteriorating health. Dr Fauzia was addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Monday. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Secretary General Iqbal Haider was also present and he too demanded the immediate return of Dr Aafia. Dr Fauzia thanked the Pakistani government for its support but urged the government to ensure her immediate return so that she can receive medical treatment.
October 8, 2008 DAWN : NEW YORK — Four Pakistani senators on Tuesday met Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist being held at a medical facility in Carswell, Texas, for medical evaluation, on orders from a US court judge.
October 9, 2008 DailyTimes: PAKISTAN — Aafia in better health but vague about missing years – Aafia tells Pakistani senators charges against her baseless, has no confidence in her lawyers, US court; Claims she was tortured, made to sign documents, being forced to admit things
October 9, 2008 Associated Press of Pakistan: NEW YORK (APP): Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is under U.S. detention on charges of attempted murder, does not have faith in the American judicial system and insists that the case against her is false and baseless, according to the head of a Pakistani parliamentary delegation which met her in Texas on Tuesday. Mushahid, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told a press conference in New York on Wednesday evening that Dr. Siddiqui, a U.S.-educated Pakistani neuroscientist, wanted the case against her dropped and she wished to be returned to Pakistan.
October 10, 2008 Associated Press of Pakistan Pakistan Friday expressed the hope that Dr. Afia Siddiqui would be released very soon as the Pakistan government has been making sincere efforts in this regard. Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq in his weekly briefing said a Senate delegation led by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was currently visiting USA and they had met with Dr. Afia Siddiqui.
October 11, 2008 Nation (LAHORE) Lawyers demand Aafia repatriation — Lawyers have called for immediate extradition of Dr Aafia Siddiqui from America and asked the government to employ every means in this direction.
October 14, 2008 Associated Press of Pakistan The Pakistani embassy in Washington has asked the US State Department to facilitate a meeting between detained Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui and members of her family including mother and sister, it was officially learned Monday. Following Aafia Siddiqui’s desire to see her family members, the embassy conveyed the request to the US authorities on the instructions of Pakistan’s ambassador Husain Haqqani that her mother Ismat Siddiqui and sister Dr Fauzia Siddiqui may be allowed to meet her.
October 16, 2008 International News Pakistan The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has expressed its concern over the Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s missing children and conveyed its concern to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Amjad Iqbal Qureshi while talking to ‘The News’.
October 18, 2008 Daily Times Pakistan Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister Dr Fouzia Siddiqui on Friday expressed shock over Pakistani senators (who visited Aafia) statements that she was “quite happy” in US custody.
Fouzia was addressing a press conference arranged by Defence of Human Rights (HDR) at Rawalpindi Islamabad Press Club camp office.“How could be a person happy after five years of detention and torture?” Fouzia questioned.
She said her brother who visited Aafia at the Carswell Psychiatric Centre, Texas on October 12, had told her that Aafia was brought in handcuffs and chains to meet him. Quoting her brother, Fouzia said she was frail and bent after years of physical and mental torture and sexual assaults. “Aafia has no insight to the extent of allegations against her … she was paranoid and at times delusional,” said Fouzia.
October 29, 2008 Daily Times Pakistan Yvonne Ridley Press Conference:
…. “I have now more news about Prisoner 650 … I can tell you categorically Prisoner 650 is not Dr Aafia,” said Ridley, citing American statements that this particular prisoner was repatriated to her country of origin in 2005. The Briton claimed that Prisoner 650 was not the only Muslim woman to have had been held in Bagram. “When the Americans are asked if more women are being held in Bagram … they say ‘no’,” she said, and called the US administration ‘liars’.
She said if the Americans had nothing to hide, they should have told her by now the number of Muslim women they were holding as ‘female enemy combatants’. Ridley also claimed that the Pakistani military had ‘played a part’ in this shocking episode. PTI chief Imran Khan demanded that the government expedite efforts for the release of Dr Aafia. Criticising government policies, he said they had complicated the situation in the Tribal Areas.
November 12, 2008 Nation (Pakistan) …. U.S. Attacks Now Intolerable …. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani informed the House that he had … conveyed to the US Ambassador the Pakistanâ€™s concern over continuous detention of Dr Afia Siddiqui in the US. He said he wanted her to send Dr Afia to Pakistan immediately on medical grounds.
November 17, 2008 Reuters A Pakistani woman suspected of links to al Qaeda and charged with trying to kill American interrogators in Afghanistan is mentally unfit to stand trial, according to her psychiatric evaluation.Aafia Siddiqui, 36, is “not currently competent to proceed as a result of her mental disease, which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her,” U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said on Monday while reporting the results of the evaluation. Berman ordered a hearing on Wednesday to discuss how to proceed with Siddiqui’s case, including the possible use of medication to treat her.
November 18, 2008 Nation (Pakistan) Human Rights Network (HRN) filed a petition with the SHC to retrieve back Pakistani national Dr. Afia Siddiqui who is missing from March 2003 and appeared recently in Afghanistan but later handed over to the United States. Human Rights Network (HRN) filled a petition against the detention of Pakistani citizen Dr Aafia Siddiqi to USA government in Sindh High Court on Monday.
November 19, 2008 Daily Times Pakistan The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday disposed of a writ petition seeking its direction to the government to take the issue of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s detention by the US authorities to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
November 19, 2008 Associated Press of Pakistan The Pakistani embassy here has asked the United States to urgently repatriate Dr Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan for her rehabilitation in light of a report that her current mental state renders the neuroscientist unable to stand court trial.
Under instructions of Ambassador Husain Haqqani, the embassy wrote a letter to the U.S. State Department, requesting that 36-year old Ms Siddiqui may urgently be repatriated to Pakistan where she will be mentally rehabilitated and monitored, according to a spokesman.
This action will present a positive and more humane view of Pakistan-US relations and help in improving public perceptions of Pakistanis about the United States, the embassy emphasized.
The Forensic Evaluation Report by FMC Carsville Texas Hospital had concluded that Ms Siddiqui “is not currently competent to proceed as a result of her mental disease, which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense.”
November 20, 2008 Pakistan News and AFP NEW YORK:
Prosecutor of Dr. Afia Siddiqui case David Raskin said Wednesday that there was “not a shred of evidence” that Siddiqui had been in the hands of US or allied forces in Pakistan or Afghanistan prior to her arrest. “I can say to the court we have found zero evidence that Ms Siddiqui was abducted, tortured — any of the things we hear repeated.” Raskin said that Siddiqui’s unexplained disappearance during that period more logically suggested that she was an Al-Qaeda agent who “went underground.”
The defense says Siddiqui is an innocent victim of a dirty war run by US and allied agents and was secretly incarcerated for five years prior to the alleged incident in July.
Judge Richard Berman told the federal court in New York that Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated neuroscientist extradited in August from Afghanistan, is “not currently competent to proceed.”
November 25, 2008 GEO TV Pakistan KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC), on a constitutional petition against the arrest of a Pakistani citizen, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her three children, keeping them at separate places and their handing over to US, has issued notice to the respondents for December 5.
Human Rights Network president, Intikhab Alam Suri had filed the petition in SHC through Iqbal Aqeel Advocate, making a plea that Aafia Siddiqui along with her three children was abducted and they were being kept at separate unknown places and tortured, while Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in sub-conscious state was handed over to US although no evidence against her exists. The petition further said, “She is a Pakistani citizen, her security was the government’s responsibility and, therefore, the respondents—federal interior and foreign ministries and the federation should be ordered to recover and bring back Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her three children by fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.
December 3, 2008 The International News ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday adjourned till January 15 the hearing of petition regarding Dr. Afia Siddiqui’s return to Pakistan from the U.S.
IHC Chief Justice, Justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam heard the petition. Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafri presenting his arguments to the court said despite orders of the court no steps were taken by the Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and the Federation for the return of Dr. Afia Siddiqui and 150 Pakistan children from the orphanages of Afghanistan. These authorities have not even bothered to submit their response, he added. Barrister Jafri requested the court to adjourn the hearing till the second week of January because he is proceeding abroad.
A US court on Wednesday extended a probe into whether a Pakistani neuroscientist is mentally fit to stand trial on charges that she tried to murder US officers in Afghanistan. Judge Richard Berman said the federal court in New York would meet again February 23 after psychiatrists for the prosecution and the defense have had time to evaluate Aafia Siddiqui’s state of mind. Berman said that psychiatric evaluations should first decide “the issue of competence” and also make a “recommendation to the future cause of action.”
According to defense attorney Elizabeth Fink, Siddiqui, 36, is suffering hallucinations that feature her dead or missing children.
Prosecutors allege Siddiqui was first detained in July by Afghan police and that shortly after, while in custody, she grabbed a rifle and fired on visiting US officers.
Fink says that Siddiqui is not only innocent of those charges, but the victim of five years in secret US or Afghan custody — an experience responsible for her current mental illness.
January 6, 2009 Daily Times (Pakistan): Pakistan to fully cooperate with India, US told
(from last paragraph of report) ….. Gilani called for the immediate repatriation on humanitarian grounds of Dr Aafia Siddiqi – a Pakistani scientist detained in the US – and for the release of five Pakistani nationals detained at Guantanamo Bay. Boucher assured him that the cases of these people would be taken up with the US authorities on his return to America. At his meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Boucher held talks on bilateral relations and counter-terrorism cooperation. According to Online, Boucher said drone attacks in the Tribal areas had become a ‘compulsion’.
March 26, 2009 Cageprisoners INTERVIEW: Aafia Siddiqui’s presence at Bagram confirmed through this interview with former Bagram prisoner, Binyam Mohammed. Listen to an audio or read thetext of this interviewat text page 1 and text page 2
[Note: Binyam Mohammed claims he was sold for a bounty (a plight alleged by many of the Bush-Cheney terrorist suspects) by Pakistani authorities in 2002 and subsequently remained in US secret facilities and military detention sites for over 7 years. On February 23, 2009 he became the first - and thus far only - Guantanamo prisoner to be released under the Obama administration. CBS news picked up the story a few days later (see below)].
April 2, 2009 CBS News – Former Gitmo Detainee Says He Saw Pakistani Scientist, Siddiqui, at Bagram Prison
A former prisoner at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay said he had seen a female Pakistani scientist at the Afghan prison in Bagram, while being held there himself. In a 43-minute audio interview, Binyam Mohammed confirmed seeing a female prisoner in Bagram who he later identified as the Pakistani scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
“In Bagram, I came across a female who wore a shirt with the number 650…The Americans did not want us to have any contact with her. Nobody talked to her in the facility,” said Mohammed, adding that he was told she was from Pakistan but had studied or lived in America. Mohammed said after being released from Guantanamo he saw a picture of the Pakistani scientist and thinks it’s the same woman he had seen in Bagram.
The U.S. denies Dr. Aafia was ever held in Bagram, and says she was arrested by Afghan forces in July 2008 while attempting to bomb the compound of the governor of Ghazni. She is presently being held in Texas.
Binyam Ahmed Mohamed is an Ethiopian national who was held at the Guantanamo prison between 2004 and 2009. He had been captured and transported under the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. After charges against him were dropped, he was released and arrived in the United Kingdom last February.
May 6, 2009 Pakistan News Kidnapping Please Against Musharraf Dismissed by Court
KARACHI: A local court Wednesday dismissed plea of the kidnapping of Dr Aafia Siddiqui against former president Pervez Musharraf.
Nihal Hashmi, a local leader of Muslim League (Nawaz), had filed a petition in a local court of Karachi pleading for registration of a case against former president Pervez Musharraf for abduction of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. The court in previous hearing ordered TPO Gulshan Iqbal and other high officials of police department to appear before the court with all relevant record. The court today observed that the petitioner have no blood relation Dr Aafia and he was not eligible to file the plea and dismissed it.
“Only mother, sister, brother or any other relative can file such petition,” the court observed.
May 8, 2009 Geo Pakistan SHC Calls for report on missing children of Dr. Aafia
KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) two-member bench, while disposing off the three petitions relating to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, ordered providing legal assistance to Dr. Aafia Sddiqui by hiring legal expert’s service in Washington.
The bench comprising of Justice Muhammad Athar Saeed and Justice Arshad Siraj Memon further ordered presenting the report within 45 days on the two missing children of Dr. Aafia and the actions thus far taken by the agencies in this regard and if the order was not complied, then the petitioner could file contempt of court petition against the government.
Human Right Network’s advocate Intikhab Alam Suri, Awami Muslim League leader Mahfoozyar Khan and Nisar A. Mujahid had filed these petitions. The court disposing off the three petitions, ordered that the government should hire a U. S. legal expert’s service through its embassy, who taking the legal aspects of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case, provide her legal assistance. The court further ordered that if Dr. Aafia’s family needed financial assistance for fighting out legal war, then financial assistance be also provided. The court decision said if the orders were not complied within 45 days, then contempt of court petition could be filed.
May 10, 2009 The International News (Pakistan) U.S. Embassy Clarifies
Once again, we at the US embassy note untruthful and irresponsible reporting concerning the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in a report titled “Saga of Aafia’s unending torment in NY jail” (May 7). The truth is never served by sensationalism; we believe your readers, as fair-minded and critical thinkers, deserve better, and we are equally troubled by the complete failure on the part of your reporter to solicit comment from US government sources. We continue to commend the majority of Pakistani journalists for their accurate and balanced reporting and overall professionalism.
Grossly unsubstantiated allegations continue to be reported as ‘fact’. Allegations that Dr Siddiqui has been in custody at the Bagram Theatre Internment Facility in Afghanistan are completely erroneous. Ms Siddiqui was never in US custody, either at the Bagram Theatre Internment Facility or elsewhere, prior to her detention by the Afghan police in Afghanistan on July 17, 2008. On July 18, 2008, she was wounded while attempting to kill US personnel who had come to interview her.
May 26, 2009 Nation (Pakistan) IHC reserves verdict on Aafia case
Islamabad High Court Tuesday reserved verdict over a petition for bringing Dr Aafia Siddiqui back to Pakistan from the United States. Petitioner’s lawyer Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffery in his arguments before the court of Justice Raja Saeed Akram said that the government was failed to take serious steps for bringing Dr Aafia Siddiqui back to home despite the court orders.
…. The issue was also discussed in President Asif Zardari’s recent meeting with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the government lawyer said. The court reserved the verdict on the petition till June 3.
May 28, 2009 Amnesty International Report 2009 released:
This report covers 5 different regions of the world, with Aafia Siddiqui mentioned in the “Asia and the Pacific: Pakistan” section of this report, under “Enforced Disappearances.”
June 4, 2009 The International News (Pakistan) Steps for Aafia Siddiqui’s Repatriation Ordered
Justice Raja Saeed Akram Khan of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take every step for the repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
Disposing off the appeal, the IHC directed the Pakistan Embassy in United States of America to remain in contact with the American officials in this regard. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was detained in the US on suspicion of her involvement in terrorist activities. She was arrested from Afghanistan and later her judicial trial was initiated in the US. Iffat Siddiqui, who is the mother of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, along with another petitioner Iftikhar Hussain Rajpoot, had moved the court for the repatriation of her daughter.The petitioners asked the court that the matter should be brought before the International Court of Justice under the 1959 Treaty between Pakistan and the US, in case their efforts fail to yield results.
For further reading:
March 2006 Human Rights First paper (pdf file): Still Missing: Gaps in the U.S. State Department Human Rights Reports on Secret Detentions and Renditions
This paper details the reports from human rights groups and former detainees regarding America’s secret prisons around the world. The countries that are complicitious with the U.S. extraordinary rendition program are listed, as well as those that contain secret prisons. A list of countries is given, along with dozens of links for reference.
April 2006 Amnesty International report (pdf file) on the U.S. extraordinary rendition program: United States of America – Below the Radar: Secret Flights to Torture and “Disappearance”
June 2006 Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe (pdf file of 65-page document): Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states
August 2002 Bybee torture memo
June 26, 2008 Video (above) House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Detainee Interrogation, re: the 2002 Bybee memo.
In this video, John Yoo demonstrates his skill at evading questions regarding the implementation of the torture techiniques in the Bybee memo. Committee members attempt to interrogate John Yoo regarding the implementation of the Bybee memo. memo Fmr. Deputy Asst. Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) during House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Detainee Interrogation, June 26, 2008
March 2007 LA Times: I Am Not a State Secret (Op-ed by By Khaled El-Masri)
El-Masri, a German citizen born in Lebanon, was a car salesman before he was detained in December 2003. Three weeks after being seized, Mr. El-Masri was subjected to extraordinary rendition to Afghanistan, where he was tortured for over 4 months. In his words, “Long after the American government realized that I was an entirely innocent man, I was blindfolded, put back on a plane, flown to Europe and left on a hilltop in Albania — without any explanation or apology for the nightmare that I had endured.” His attempts toward a fair trial have been denied, due to “state secrets,” even as the facts of his case are well known in every corner of the world, except in America.
2007 letter from Ali Khan the father of Majid Khan, the only legal resident of the U.S. being held at Guantanamo, and the only so-called “high value” detainee with legal representation.
Ali Khan is accused, among other things, of plotting to blow up gas stations in Baltimore. Majid Khan is believed to be, along with Aafia Siddiqui and others, an innocent victim — falsely accused of terrorist acts during one of one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s hundreds of torture sessions. The existence of these false accusations was alluded to several times in Mohammed’s statements to the International Red Cross (see one of these statements, below). Mohammed’s testimony, along with that of other Guantanamo detainees, was published a 40-page International Red Cross report, which detailed the conditions of 14 “high value detainees” at Guantanamo detainees, including highly detailed descriptions of the torture methods being used — such as “suffocation by water,” aka waterboarding, to which Mohammed was infamously subjected 183 times. This IRC report, which included Mohammed’s statement, below, was released and presented to President Bush in February 2007.
by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers