NEW YORK, Aug 11: A US federal court on Monday postponed Aafia Siddiqui’s bail hearing till Sept 3.

The judge also ordered immediate medical aid for her, asking US authorities to arrange a physcian to see her within 24 hours. The judge had issued a similar order last week as well but her lawyers claim that she did not get proper medical attention and her wound was getting infected.

Ms Siddiqui was brought to the court on a wheelchair.

Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, a leader of the lawyers’ movement, was also present outside the court.

Earlier, scores of Pakistanis demonstrated outside a federal court house in Manhattan, demanding that Aafia Siddiqui be freed.

US authorities brought Ms Siddiqui, a Pakistani citizen, to New York last week for trial. The authorities claimed that she was captured in Afghanistan on July 17 and taken to a detention centre after she allegedly tried to kill her interrogators.

Ms Siddiqui was brought to the court from the Brooklyn detention centre early Monday morning and consulted her lawyers before the court proceedings.

On Saturday, US authorities allowed two Pakistani diplomats to visit Ms Siddiqui. She is believed to have told the diplomats that she was innocent and requested a copy of the holy Quran, halal food and assurances of a fair trial.

Although US authorities claim that Ms Siddiqui was a fixer for Al Qaeda, so far they have not brought terror charges against her.

According to a US criminal complaint, Ms Siddiqui was caught carrying documents containing recipes for explosives and chemical weapons and describing “various landmarks in the United States, including the New York City”.

The US-educated Pakistani neuroscientist had been missing for years before her sudden appearance in a New York court last week.

Human rights groups designated her a “missing person” while wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation put her on its wanted for questioning list.

Her lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp, however, claims that Ms Siddiqui has been in US custody since her disappearance from Karachi in 2003.

“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,” the lawyer said.

Ms 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 Ms Siddiqui was ever held there.

Ms Sharp also described Ms Siddiqui’s current condition as “weak” particularly because of the gunshot wound she received during an alleged scuffle with US security personnel. Her lawyers have rejected the US claim, saying that she was too weak to scuffle and snatch a rifle from an army officer, as the authorities claim.

The lawyers claimed that since she was not given proper medical treatment, they fear that her wound became infected. She is extremely weak and had to be wheeled to the court last week as well.


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