The Justice for Aafia Coalition has reported that Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is detained at Carswell Prison at a US Military base in Fort Worth, United States, has been physically assaulted in her prison cell and left unconscious and bleeding.
In a press release the coalition said: “She eventually received medical care after two days and intervention by her lawyer, Ms Tina Foster. Dr Aafia was visited by her lawyer within days of the incident and is now in better condition. The Pakistani consulate in Texas also sent a high level team to visit Dr Aafia. She has still not been able to visit with family members. The last family visit was over a year ago.
“This latest ‘incident’ underscores the need for independent medical treatment of Dr Aafia that is outside of the prison system. It also further highlights the urgent need for her repatriation to Pakistan where she may serve out her sentence and the governments can avoid the diplomatic problems that arise from incidents of this type.”
Carswell prison claims it is conducting an “internal investigation into the incident”. The findings will likely remain secret.
Dr Aafia and her three children disappeard in 2003 in Pakistan. Her eldest son later returned to the scene and described how when he, his mother and siblings came out of their home, 15-20 people, including a “white lady” and members of the ISI, were waiting in three to four vehicles on the next street and subsequently kidnapped them.
Following her trial, Dr Aafia’s lawyer described how Aafia’s baby, Suleman, was believed to have been killed during the arrest. Dr Aafia was later shown a picture of her baby, lying in a pool of blood. It is not known if Suleman, who would now be 7 years old, is alive.
Aafia Siddiqui had been missing for more than a year when the FBI put her photographs on its website. Both the Pakistan government as well as US officials in Washington denied any knowledge of her custody.
She claims that she was kidnapped by the Pakistani intelligence services with her children and transferred into US custody. She further alleges that she was detained in a series of secret prisons for five years during which time she was repeatedly abused, tortured and raped
International media attention
On 7 July 2008, a press conference led by British journalist Yvonne Ridley, in Pakistan resulted in mass international coverage of Aafia’s case as her disappearance was questioned by the media and political figures in Pakistan. Within weeks, the US administration reported that she was arrested by Afghani forces along with her 13 year old son, outside the governor of Ghazni’s compound, allegedly with manuals on explosives and “dangerous substances in sealed jars” on her person. Her lawyers claim that the evidence was planted on her.
On 4 August 2008, federal prosecutors in the US confirmed that Aafia Siddiqui had been extradited to the US from Afghanistan where they alleged she had been detained since mid-July 2008. They further allege that whilst in custody she fired at US officers (none being injured) and was herself shot twice in the process. Aafia confirmed during her trial that she was hiding behind a curtain in the prison, as the US claim, with the intent of escaping as she feared being returned to a secret prison, but categorically denied picking up the gun or attempting to shoot anyone. Aafia was charged in the US with assaulting and attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan.
On February 3, 2010, she was convicted and found guilty on all counts and was later sentenced to 86 years in prison, on 5 counts making her eligible for release in 2094. She would be 122 years old at the time of her release, if she remains alive at that time.
If you would like to request Dr Aafia’s immediate repatriation to Pakistan you can write to:
Eric Holder: Attorney General, US Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001, Tel: +1 202 353 1555, Email: AskDoJ@usdoj.gov
John Kerry: Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, N.W. Washington DC 20520, Tel: +1 202 647 4000, Fax: +1 202 261 8577, Email: Tweet: @StateDept
And if you would like to send a message of support to Dr Aafia you should write to:
AAFIA SIDDIQUI # 90279-054
FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER
P.O. BOX 27137
FORT WORTH, TX 76127