NEW YORK A US-trained Pakistani scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui being tried on charges she tried to kill Americans while she was detained in Afghanistan in 2008 told a jury Thursday that she didnt picked up a gun or fire it.
This is crazy, Aafia Siddiqui testified when cross-examined about the accusations at her attempted murder trial in Manhattan. Its just ridiculous. ... I never attempted murder, no way. Its a heavy word.
The 37-year-old Siddiqui claimed that she was shot by two men while trying to escape.
Somebody saw me and said something, a guy standing at the opposite end of the room saw me and shot me. And then another came from here and shot me. And then I just passed out, she said.
She told jurors her case is an example of how authorities frame people, she said.
Siddiqui, whos been prone to courtroom outbursts and claims she was tortured in a secret prison, took the stand over the objections of her defense lawyers who said her diminished capacity would turn her testimony into a painful spectacle.
A judge allowed her to testify after prosecutors called her tirades opportunistic and calculated.
The defendant was alternately poised, amusing and combative during about 90 minutes of testimony.
The first question asked by a prosecutor _ You were born in 1972? _ got the response, If you say so. She described the charges as being so outrageous that they sometimes make me smile under my scarf _ a reference to a white scarf covering her head and face. She said that although shes a scientist, I couldnt kill a rat.
US authorities portrayal is more sinister They say Siddiqui picked up an unattended US military assault rifle at an Afghanistan police station on July 18, 2008, and fired two rounds at FBI agents and US Army soldiers. She missed and was wounded by return fire.
Prosecutors say the shooting occurred as Siddiqui was about to be questioned a day after she was caught by Afghan police outside a governors building. At the time of her arrest, she was carrying instructions for a dirty bomb and a list of New York City landmarks including the Statue of Liberty.
Siddiqui began her testimony by telling jurors she came to the United States to attend the University of Houston.
She later transferred to MIT, where she earned an undergraduate degree in biology, before obtaining a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2001.
She said she left the United States in June 2002 with her three children and returned to her native Pakistan.
Turning to the shooting, Siddiqui testified she was shot shortly after she poked her head around a curtain to see if there was a way she might slip out of the room where she was being held.
She said she was desperate to escape because she had been tortured in a secret prison and feared she would be taken there again.
I was very confused, she said. I wanted to get out. ... I was afraid.
She not only denied firing the M4 assault rifle, she said when she heard about the allegations she thought, What does an M4 look like?
After she was shot, she said she heard American voices saying Were taking this B with us. They used the B-word.
On the way to the hospital, she said she heard others expressing fear she might die. She said one of them said A couple of us are going to lose our jobs.—AP