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‘Dr Aafia’s conviction a crime’

September 15, 2012

LAHORE, Sept 14: A former US Senator, Mike Gravel, terming the conviction of Dr Aafia Siddiqui a crime, regretted it was committed on American soil.

At a seminar held at the Lahore High Court Bar Association on Friday, Mr Gravel regretted Dr Siddiqui was illegally detained and subjected to torture in isolation before her controversial conviction.

The seminar was organised by the Judicial Activism Panel to raise voice for the release of Dr Siddiqui. Mr Gravel, also a former presidential candidate, condemned the recent anti-Islam film and stated the people of the US were not involved in such activities.

Advocate Tina Foster, the new counsel for Dr Siddiqui and chairperson of the International Justice Movement, said the Pakistani scientist was not given a fair trial.

She said the attorneys who contested Ms Siddiqui’s trial were engaged by US and Pakistan governments against hefty fees but they did not pursue her case well.

Ms Foster lamented that neither a fair investigation was conducted nor basic legal requirements were fulfilled in Dr Siddiqui’s case.

Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia and JAP’s Chairman Azhar Siddique also spoke on the occasion and expressed gratitude to the foreign guests for highlighting the illegalities committed by the US government in the case.

JI TEAM: Talking to journalists after meeting with a Jamaat-i-Islami delegation here at a local hotel, Mr Gravel suggested the Pakistan government should make a formal demand to the Obama administration for Dr Aafia’s release instead of making ‘vain statements’ in this regard.

“It is better to submit a demand (for Dr Afia’s release) in writing to the Obama Administration rather than making useless efforts in this regard,” Mr Gravel said.

The JI delegation, led by its secretary-general Liaquat Baloch, included Amirul Azeem and JI central Information Secretary Anwar Niazi.

Mr Baloch lauded the US Senator’s ‘sincere efforts for a noble cause’.