Aafia’s sister rejects US charges

Published August 6, 2008

KARACHI, Aug 5: Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, a sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who is in US custody, and Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, have dismissed as a pack of lies FBI’s claim of having found Dr Aafia possessing documents about preparing chemical weapons.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, they called upon the government and all political and religious parties to rise and stop persecution of Dr Aafia and try to get her and her children released and brought back home because they did not expect justice in a US court.

They distributed among journalists copies of the “charge-sheet” against Dr Aafia presented to a US magistrate judge in New York.

Dr Fauzia said that her sister had been tortured for five years until the day the US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan. This showed how they had abused their authority and tortured an innocent woman.

“The FBI on July 31 and August 1 confirmed that Aafia is injured and alive and is in custody in Afghanistan” and now it has been stated that she has been shifted to the US.

Dr Fauzia pointed out that an FBI agent had told the US court in an affidavit that Afghan police officers of Ghazni province had found Aafia along with a teenage boy outside the Ghazni governor’s compound.

She said it was a joke because a woman who had disappeared while on way to the airport in Karachi to take a flight for Rawalpindi in March 2003 had been found five years later in Ghazni.

Demanding information about her three children, she said that her relatives in the US who wanted to fight her case were being denied access to her.

She said there was little hope of her sister getting a fair trial in the US, adding that she feared for her life.

Dr Fauzia also said that Aafia was not a neurobiologist, but had specialised in helping mentally retarded children to improve their memory.

Answering a question, she said that she and her relatives had met the relevant authorities in Pakistan soon after Aafia’s abduction and they promised that she would be released soon, but all of it turned out to be farce.

She also said that members of her family had been receiving anonymous calls threatening them of consequences if they spoke about Aafia.

Mr Iqbal Haider pointed out that the US State Department and FBI lied when they denied that Aafia was in their custody, but only a few days after admitting that she was in their custody they came up with false charges against her.

He said that “US and Pakistani authorities have been callous and ruthless who abducted and illegally confined her in total disregard of universal human rights charter”.

He said that the charges against Dr Aafia were nothing but a pack of lies and most significant of them was about her obtaining an M-4 rifle even while in custody and using it against US officials.

Why was she charged with possessing documents about chemical weapons now and why was she not tried five years ago when she had been abducted?, he asked.

He termed it an act of outright victimisation and terrorism by the US which championed the cause of war against terrorism.

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