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Aafia Siddiqui Denied Medical Treatment by US Court

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    Aafia Siddiqui claims she was held by the US in Bagram for years PRESS RELEASE Cageprisoners has received new information that Aafia Siddiqui was held for
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2008
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      Aafia Siddiqui claims she was held by the US in Bagram for years
      PRESS RELEASE


      Cageprisoners has received new information that Aafia Siddiqui was
      held for years in Bagram Airbase. According to her lawyer, Elaine
      Whitfield Sharp,

      "We do know she was at Bagram for a long time. It was a long time.
      According to my client she was there for years and she was held in
      American custody; her treatment was horrendous."

      Siddiqui's claim is contrary to the heavily contested position of
      the US administration that she was detained in July by Afghan forces
      while attempting to bomb the compound of the governor of Ghazni. The
      US has previously denied the presence of female detainees in Bagram
      and that Aafia was ever held there, bar for medical treatment in
      July 2008.

      Sharp also commented about Siddiqui's current condition and in
      particular the gunshot wound she has received. Not having been given
      proper medical treatment for the wound, there is a real concern that
      it will become infected as it is believed to be septic. She is
      extremely weak and had to be wheeled into her legal visit.

      Legal visits have also become a problem for Sharp and her client.
      They were only allowed to meet with Siddiqui in a cell behind glass
      with bars and their only method of communication was through the
      slot in the door used for food. Sharp was forced to bend over for
      the several hours of their meeting in order to listen and speak
      through the food slot. This resulted in extreme difficult for lawyer
      and client as they attempted to speak to one another. Sharp further
      commented,

      "In that open situation, we were forced to keep our voices low as we
      were aware that we were video and tape recorded. The whole situation
      made it impossible for me to meet properly with my client."

      Of great concern to Cageprisoners is the detention of Ahmed, the
      twelve-year-old son of Siddiqui who is still being detained in
      Afghanistan, alone and away from his mother, despite his status as a
      US citizen. It is imperative that the US place him in the custody of
      his relatives.

      ===

      Lawyer demands Dr Aafia's shifting to hospital for urgent treatment
      By Dazeylin
      http://freedetainees.org/1947#more-1947


      NEW YORK, Aug 26 (APP): A lawyer for Aafia Sidiqui, a Pakistani
      neuroscientist charged with trying to kill American interrogators in
      Afghanistan, has made a fervent plea to U.S. authorities to
      immediately shift her client to a hospital in view of her worsening
      state of health.

      "Her condition has significantly deteriorated since August four when
      she was brought to New York," an angry Elizabeth Fink told a press
      conference in a Brooklyn park, a block away from a federal prison
      where she is being held under harsh conditions.

      "She (Dr. Siddiqui) should be transferred to Bellevue hospital for
      urgent medical and psychological treatment," the lawyer added.

      Ms. Fink expressed her outrage that even after a court ordered
      medical examination, Dr. Siddiqui, despite her life-threatening
      condition, did not receive the recommended
      treatment. She described the U.S. authorities' indifference towards
      her client as "cruel and inhuman" and in violation of American laws.

      She also said that the U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia (the prosecutor)
      informed her through a letter on Friday that an 11-year-old boy
      detained along with Dr. Siddiqui appears to be the Pakistani woman's
      son.

      Unlike Dr. Siddiqui, who is being held in the Metropolitan Detention
      Centre, the boy is in the custody of Afghan authorities, Ms. Fink
      said, adding that the child, who appeared confused, has been
      interrogated by FBI agents several times.

      According to the letter, she said, the results of a DNA test showed
      the boy's DNA "was consistent with that of a potential offspring of
      Aafia Siddiqui."

      More tests are being done, the letter said, and they should be
      completed this week. U.S. authorities also compared a passport photo
      of Dr. Siddiqui's son, Mohammed Ahmed, to the boy held in
      Afghanistan and believed they appeared to be the same person. He was
      born in Boston and was therefore an American citizen, it said.

      "The child is an American citizen, he is not a Pakistani citizen,"
      Ms. Fink said. She said the State Department should collect the
      child from the Afghan authorities.

      Both the boy and Dr. Siddiqui, a 36-year-old MIT-trained behavioural
      neuroscientist, were picked up by Afghan National Police earlier
      this month. When she was apprehended, the prosecution claimed Dr.
      Siddiqui had in her possession maps of New York, a list of potential
      targets that included the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, and
      detailed chemical, biological and radiological weapon information
      that has been seen only in a handful of terrorist cases.

      Ms. Fink's press conference was organized by the Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
      Defence Committee. Ryan Hancock, a Philadelphia-based civil rights
      attorney and spokesman for the committee, said his group was a loose-
      knit collection of civil rights attorneys and Pakistani-Americans
      who believe the United States' case against Dr. Siddiqui is purely
      political.

      Pakistani activists, carrying placards demanding justice and release
      of Dr. Siddiqui, arrayed behind Ms. Fink as she welcomed the
      proposed visit of Pakistani parliamentarians to meet their
      incarcerated compatriot. Pressure by the government of Pakistan
      would also help, she said, adding that she favoured Dr. Siddiqui's
      repatriation to Pakistan.

      Salim Rizi, a Pakistani-American lawyer who is a member of the
      defence team, said they were doing everything possible so that Dr.
      Siddiqui's trial is fair as also to ensure that she gets proper
      medical treatment.

      The activists were led by Shahid Comrade, General Secretary of the
      Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum.

      Ms. Fink voiced her deep concern over the medical condition of Dr.
      Siddiqui, who was shot twice in the stomach when she was arrested by
      U.S. authorities, after she allegedly attempted to kill American
      personnel using a guard's rifle.

      Ms. Siddiqui has recently refused to meet with her lawyers, Ms. Fink
      said, because the prison which holds her changed its policy and now
      requires Ms. Siddiqui to undergo a full strip search before meeting
      visitors. The abdominal wound and other health problems recently
      observed during a medical examination make it too painful for
      Siddiqui to undergo an invasive full-body search, Ms. Fink said,
      calling the procedure "dehumanizing and degrading.".

      At a recent court appearance, Siddiqui was hunched over in a
      wheelchair, obviously in pain. Her bail hearing is scheduled for
      September 3, when she is expected to be indicted.

      Asked whether the U.S. government would bring more charges against
      her as reported in the press, Ms. Fink said the defence lawyers have
      not been provided any information. But she said if more charges were
      brought, she would deal with them.

      The lawyer declined to talk about the whereabouts of Dr. Siddiqui
      after her disappearance from Pakistan in 2003 and until her arrest
      in Afghanistan on July 18, saying, "She has been through a living
      hell."

      "She has been significantly traumatized and she needs immediate
      help," Ms. Fink added.

      ===

      Attorney mum on Aafia's children whereabouts
      By Masood Haider
      http://www.dawn.com/2008/08/16/top14.htm


      NEW YORK, Aug 15: Elizabeth Fink, the attorney for Aafia Siddiqui, a
      Pakistani woman charged by the US authorities with trying to kill US
      soldiers in Afghanistan, says that Aafia was tortured but keeps
      quiet on the whereabouts her children.

      "The woman has been tortured," Ms Fink said. "I believed she has
      been tortured based on my experience with people with post-traumatic
      stress disorder."

      On the crucial question about the whereabouts of Ms Siddiqui's three
      children whose custody is being sought by Pakistani authorities, Ms
      Fink refused to comment suggesting that some issues could not be
      shared with the press.

      When Pakistani consular officers met Ms Siddiqui last Saturday
      another defence attorney, Gideon Oliver, asked Ms Siddiqui not to
      speak about her children.

      Later talking to Dawn he confirmed that he had stopped Ms Siddiqui
      from revealing any information about her children to Pakistani
      authorities.

      Pakistan's Deputy Consul General Saqib Rauf also said that Ms
      Siddiqui wanted to speak about her children but was restrained under
      advice of her counsel. "She kept on asking after the welfare of her
      mother and wanted to know about the political conditions in the
      country", he said.

      ===

      [Dr Aafia Saddiqui is not only a MIT grad, her 11 year old son was
      born in Boston and is an American citizen-- Her three children have
      been "disappeared" in Pakistan, and she has been held and tortured
      for three years.]


      "While largely ignored in the US, Siddiqui's case has produced
      outrage in Pakistan, with tens of thousands demonstrating to demand
      her release. Her case is seen as emblematic of the plight of
      hundreds if not thousands of Pakistanis who have "disappeared" after
      being abducted by Pakistani intelligence and turned over to the CIA
      to be sent to Guantanamo, Bagram and other secret detention and
      torture centers. An estimated 12,000 marched in Karachi on August
      17, burning a US flag and an effigy of President George W. Bush.
      Among the demonstrators were children bearing placards carrying
      photographs of their disappeared parents."


      Lawyers plead for wounded Pakistani woman facing "terror" trial in
      New York
      By Bill Van Auken
      27 August 2008
      http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/aug2008/sidd-a27_prn.shtml


      Lawyers for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui held a press conference in Brooklyn,
      New York Monday to demand that their client, a 36-year-old mother of
      three, be transferred immediately from federal jail to a hospital
      for treatment of gunshot wounds inflicted by US personnel before she
      was brought to the US to face trial.

      Dr. Siddiqui, a neuroscientist educated at the Massachusetts
      Institute of Technology and Brandeis University, has been charged
      with the attempted murder of US FBI agents and military personnel
      after her reported arrest in Afghanistan's southeastern province of
      Ghazni.

      According to the improbable account given by US authorities,
      Siddiqui was detained last month by Afghan security personnel who
      found lists of supposed US targets, bomb-making instructions and
      jars of chemicals in her handbag. But then, when a team of American
      soldiers and FBI agents came to claim her, the petite and ailing
      woman managed to overpower both her Afghan and American captors,
      wrestle away an automatic weapon and fire on them before being shot
      herself.

      The woman's lawyers and family, however, dismiss the entire story as
      a concoction and frame-up, charging that in reality she has been
      held in secret US detention facilities and subjected to physical and
      psychological torture and sexual abuse since her disappearance—
      together with her three young children, who are American citizens—
      from the streets of Karachi in March 2003.

      What is beyond dispute is that Siddiqui's medical condition is grave
      and deteriorating. She was brought into court August 11, slumped
      over in a wheelchair and in obvious pain after being transported to
      New York a week earlier. She was unable to walk and barely able to
      speak. Her lawyers said that she had stitches from her breast bone
      to her belly button and that the wound was oozing from internal
      bleeding. She reportedly had lost part of her intestines as a result
      of her gunshot wounds.

      The defense attorneys also charged that she had not been seen by a
      doctor and demanded that she receive medical attention. US
      prosecutor Christopher LaVigne justified the withholding of medical
      care on the grounds that Siddiqui was a "high-security risk."
      Nonetheless, federal Judge Henry Pitman ordered that she be seen by
      a doctor within 24 hours.

      At Monday's press conference, Siddiqui's lawyer, Elizabeth Fink,
      charged that her client had still not been granted the court-ordered
      medical attention. She called the government's treatment of the
      wounded woman "cruel and inhuman" as well as a gross violation of US
      law.

      "She should be transferred to Bellevue hospital for urgent medical
      and psychological treatment," Fink said. "She has been significantly
      traumatized and she needs immediate help."

      Fink added that Siddiqui has stopped meeting with her lawyers
      because federal authorities compel her to undergo an invasive full
      body search before each visit—a process that the lawyer described
      as "dehumanizing and degrading"—as well as climb a flight of stairs.
      Both are intolerably painful for the wounded woman.

      Aafia Siddiqui's appearance, the lawyers said, has markedly changed
      compared to photographs taken in 2002. Her nose has been broken, she
      is deathly pale and her lips and skin severely chapped. They added
      that their client is only occasionally lucid and had lost sense of
      time.

      The attorneys also reported that the US attorney's office had
      informed them that an 11-year-old boy being held by Afghan security
      forces appears to be Aafia Siddiqui's eldest son, Ahmed. The letter
      claimed that more tests were being done to confirm the relationship.
      Born in Boston, Ahmed is a US citizen.

      Siddiqui's relatives in Pakistan said that they had been informed
      that the boy was in US custody. Meanwhile the Afghan authorities
      indicated that the child's whereabouts are in doubt. A spokesman for
      the governor of Ghazni province told the Washington Post that local
      authorities had turned Ahmed over to the Afghan Interior Ministry,
      which in turn said it had handed him off to the Afghan National
      Security Directorate, which works as a puppet force of the US CIA.

      The whereabouts of her other two children, a daughter, Maryam, who
      would be nine, and a son, Suleman, who would be five, are unknown.

      According to a report issued by the Human Rights Commission of
      Pakistan, in March 2003 Aafia Siddiqui and her three young children
      left her mother's house in Karachi in a taxi on their way to the
      airport. They were intercepted en route, however, by Pakistani
      intelligence agents, disappearing until she and her eldest son were
      reported detained in Afghanistan on July 18—more than five years
      later.

      The Pakistani Interior Ministry confirmed shortly after her 2003
      abduction that she had been detained, but then claimed that it had
      been mistaken and did not have Siddiqui in custody.

      Aafia Siddiqui's sister, Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, told the press that
      she and her mother had traveled to the US in 2003 and met with FBI
      officials, who assured them she would soon be released. Meanwhile,
      in Pakistan, the family was subjected to repeated death threats and
      told to stop any public appeal for Aafia and her children.

      The US military, the Justice Department and the FBI have all claimed
      that she was never in their custody until her "capture" last month.
      CIA spokesman George Little told the Washington Post, "Any
      suggestion that the CIA would imprison her children is wrong and
      offensive."

      Elaine Whitfield Sharp, a lawyer representing the Siddiqui family,
      however, said she has evidence that, following her abduction, Aafia
      Siddiqui was placed in American custody at the infamous detention
      facility at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. "We do know she was
      at Bagram for a long time," said the attorney. "It was a long time.
      According to my client she was there for years and she was held in
      American custody; her treatment was horrendous."


      Planted evidence

      Whitfield Sharp charged that Siddiqui was taken out of the secret US
      prison, released outside a government compound in Ghazni,
      Afghanistan carrying "conveniently incriminating evidence" so that
      she could be picked up again and charged.

      Elizabeth Fink, her other attorney, agreed, telling the Associated
      Press, "Of course they found all this stuff on her. It was planted
      on her. She is the ultimate victim of the American dark side."

      Moreover, Afghan authorities have flatly contradicted the version
      given by US authorities of the arrest. Reuters news agency quoted
      police officials in Ghazni saying that they found maps of the city,
      not of targets in New York, on Siddiqui. They also reported that the
      American personnel demanded that they hand over the prisoner, but
      the Afghan officials refused. The US agents and soldiers then
      disarmed the Afghan police. When Siddiqui approached the Americans
      to complain about her abuse by the police, a panicky soldier shot
      her, the Afghans said.

      Why would Washington mount such a staged arrest and frameup? It
      appears that the imprisonment and torture of Siddiqui in Bagram were
      on the verge of being exposed. A British journalist, Yvonne Ridley,
      had mounted a public campaign demanding the release of an unknown
      female detainee in the facility, known as Prisoner No. 650. Moazzam
      Begg, a British citizen who had been held at both Bagram and
      Guantanamo, wrote of the woman in his book "Enemy Combatant," saying
      that he and other detainees could hear her screams as she was
      tortured.

      Siddiqui and her husband, an anesthesiologist, were subjected to FBI
      scrutiny beginning in July of 2001 because of their alleged
      connection to Islamic charities. They returned to Pakistan following
      the September 11, 2001 attacks, when hundreds of Pakistanis and
      other Muslims were being rounded up in the US.

      After she disappeared in Pakistan in 2003, the FBI began floating
      stories that she was a "fixer" or "facilitator" for Al Qaeda. There
      were also claims that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the senior Al Qaeda
      member captured in Afghanistan the same year, had given her name
      under torture. Mohammed subsequently testified that he gave US
      interrogators the names of innocent people. Siddiqui's supporters in
      Pakistan have stated that her identity had been stolen and that
      Mohammed was not naming her, but someone who had taken her name.

      Meanwhile, US officials and their right-wing apologists have
      attempted to lend credibility to the terror allegations by citing
      Siddiqui's MIT education and referring to her as a "microbiologist"
      with a scientific background for producing biological and chemical
      weapons. In reality, her field of study was cognitive learning, and
      she had gone back to Pakistan seeking to teach and do work in
      special education for children.

      In any case, Siddiqui has been charged with no terrorist-related
      offense, and no evidence has been produced linking her with any such
      crime. Rather she is accused of a simple assault—in which she was
      the only one hurt—that was alleged to have taken place in
      Afghanistan, over which no US court has any legal jurisdiction.

      While largely ignored in the US, Siddiqui's case has produced
      outrage in Pakistan, with tens of thousands demonstrating to demand
      her release. Her case is seen as emblematic of the plight of
      hundreds if not thousands of Pakistanis who have "disappeared" after
      being abducted by Pakistani intelligence and turned over to the CIA
      to be sent to Guantanamo, Bagram and other secret detention and
      torture centers. An estimated 12,000 marched in Karachi on August
      17, burning a US flag and an effigy of President George W. Bush.
      Among the demonstrators were children bearing placards carrying
      photographs of their disappeared parents.

      The Pakistani Foreign Office has demanded Siddiqui's repatriation to
      Pakistan and the release of her children and said it would send a
      delegation to Washington to inquire as to her fate. Earlier this
      month, the Pakistani parliament also passed a resolution demanding
      she be sent back.

      Nonetheless, popular anger over the case is directed as much against
      the Pakistani government as it is against Washington. A statement
      issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan made this
      point: "The violation of the rights of Dr Siddiqui and her children,
      and countless other missing persons, is squarely the responsibility
      of the government of Pakistan. There is enough evidence indicating
      that she was initially picked up by the intelligence agencies in
      Pakistan, therefore, not only the government of the United States
      but also the government of Pakistan must be made accountable for the
      crime."

      The relative silence of the US mass media on this case is
      noteworthy. The story is obviously newsworthy. If one takes the
      government's allegations as good coin, there has been a major
      victory in the "war on terror." A principal figure in the Al Qaeda
      terrorist network has been captured and is about to go on trial.

      If, on the other hand, Siddiqui's lawyers and family together with
      Pakistani human rights groups are telling the truth, then a woman
      educated in the US has been illegally imprisoned and tortured for
      years, and her young children—American citizens—have disappeared and
      may have been subjected to the same fate or worse. And the Bush
      administration and its intelligence agencies bear direct
      responsibility.

      The general media disinterest in the Siddiqui case has all the
      earmarks of guilty silence. The government's case is simply not
      credible. And, with few exceptions, the media has little stomach for
      exposing the fact that the so-called global war on terror—the
      centerpiece of US foreign policy—has entailed horrific crimes
      against humanity for which top US officials, from Bush and Cheney on
      down, should be prosecuted.

      *********************************************************************

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