Prisoner 650, Dr. Afia Siddiqui missing since 2003

afia_siddiqui.jpgA few days back the Asian Human Rights Commission issued an urgent press release about a Karachiite who has been missing since 2003. Dr. Afia Siddiqui left her mother’s house in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi along with her three children, in a Metro-cab on March 30, 2003 to catch a flight for Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport. The press reports claimed that Dr. Afia had been picked-up by Pakistani intelligence agencies while on her way to the airport and initial reports suggested that she was handed over to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). At the time of her arrest she was 30 years and the mother of three sons the oldest of which was four and the youngest only one month.

A few days later an American news channel, NBC, reported that Afia had been arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of facilitating money transfers for terror networks of Osama Bin Laden. The mother of the victim, Mrs. Ismat (who has since passed away) termed the NBC report absurd. She went on to say that Dr. Afia is a neurological scientist and has been living with her husband, Amjad, in the USA for several years.

Whilst Dr. Afia’s whereabouts remain unknown, there are reports of a woman called ‘Prisoner 650′ is being detained in Afghanistan’s Bagram prison and that she has been tortured to the point where she has lost her mind. Britain’s Lord Nazeer Ahmed, (of the House of Lords), asked questions in the House about the condition of Prisoner 650 who, according to him is physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at prison. Lord Nazeer has also submitted that Prisoner 650 has no separate toilet facilities and has to attend to her bathing and movements in full view of the other prisoners. There are strong reports that this Prisoner 650 is the same Dr. Afia Siddiqui from Karachi and she is also listed in the hundreds of missing persons in Pakistan

NewsLine while doing a story in 2003 – Mysterious Cover-up Mazhar Abbass reports that

Surprisingly there has been no official report registered with the police about Afia’s disappearance which explains why Afia’s mother wanted to avoid going public. The police, meanwhile, is doing nothing to trace Afia. “We have no knowledge about this case nor has anyone contacted me,” said Sindh police chief, Syed Kamal Shah. Ismat Siddiqui, however, claims that she has spoken to high police officials, including Shah, about her daughter’s disappearance. A week after the incident, Mrs. Siddiqui alleges that an intelligence agency official came to her house and warned her not to make an issue out of her daughter’s disappearance and threatened her with dire consequences.

Daily Times gives a detailed account of her mysterious disappearance in 2004 – The strange story of Aafia Siddiqui

… the FBI would make its most devastating claim against Siddiqui. It was still dark on the morning of March 1, 2003, when Pakistani authorities arrested Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a known September 11 mastermind, at a Karachi safe house. The arrest made news around the world. It also presaged the extraordinary vanishing act of Aafia Siddiqui and her three small children.” It seems Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave up Aafia’s name as being a major Al Qaeda operative.” However, one of her defenders says Siddiqui ’s identity was likely stolen. “Aafia was, I think, probably a pretty naive and trusting person and my guess is it would be pretty easy for somebody who wanted to steal an identity to just steal it.” About a month after his capture in the spring of 2003, she disappeared.

What can you do?

  1. Sign the Asian Human Rights Commission’s Urgent letter of Appeal which will send an email to Bush, Karzai, Gilani, Farooq Naek & Rehman Malik
  2. Sign the online petition for her release
  3. Join the two groups in Facebook which are participating in raising awareness for her release here and here
  4. Lastly simply help out by spreading the word by email & SMS to all your contacts

Other links to read up:

13 Comments so far

  1. mvohras on July 30th, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

    Grt8 post, shows we are the sold out nation in our own country. God bless her and hope she come back..inshallah

  2. mastqalandar on July 30th, 2008 @ 7:37 pm

    What happened to our Women Rights Associations? and other Champions of Women’s rights?

    Kahan gaey karachi kai thekedar aur khawateen kai huqooq kai thekedar????

  3. obiwankenobe on July 30th, 2008 @ 11:39 pm

    Some how Teeth Maestro was able to find the link b/w her and KMB : "Karachhite".

  4. seskey on July 31st, 2008 @ 11:55 am

    teeth u proved your mental state is not right.

    Khalid sheikh was arrested in rawalpindi, from an activist of jamat islami.

    afia she was arrested from abul hasan isphani road appartment complex., and sure she ‘WAS’ a US citizen working in a hospital in wisconsin and on visit to Pakistan when picked-up by some ‘Agency’.

    gawd damn our media , i wish one day you get arrested from a train at Lora Lai station and media report you as mad doctor doing cosmetic surgery of donkey in khanewal., and police arrested you for human rights violation.

    yuck fu teeth

  5. d0ct0r on July 31st, 2008 @ 11:28 pm

    link between her and kmb: well she was illegally kidnapped from Karachi,these so called champions of human rights(western countries) whine and groan about human rights abuses world wide,while they themselves illegally kidnap/torture people from around the world, not on their own soil(coz their holy constitution forbid them from doing so on their own soil) but they commit these illegal acts and all the dirty work in Pakistan/Afghanistan/Jordan and other so called muslim countries which obediently allows CIA to run illegal detention/torture centers .

    On one hand these western powers pick up,detain and torture people on absurd and preposterous charges without trial on the other hand they give refuge proven terrorists and mass murderers like ‘butcher of karachi’ grand terrorist Altaf bai,Saleem Shahzad and others,they fund and nurture them to operate with impunity.

  6. d0ct0r on July 31st, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

    I just hope that world would be a better place,free from turmoil and violence instigated by Americans after the Nov elections in US,and just pray that these warmongering neocon republicans get booted out.(atleast there is no harm in wishing)

  7. doctor22 on August 1st, 2008 @ 5:35 am

    Americans and their alliances are not only killing innocent Muslims of the world but insulting them by all means. But INSHALLAH they will never get success in their dirty plans. In facet they are creating more and more troubles for themselves.
    Why those “intelligent” people don’t understand this.

  8. ameerhamza on August 4th, 2008 @ 9:16 am

    Finally, a report published in today’s Dawn (04-08-2008):

    WASHINGTON, Aug 3: Five years after her mysterious disappearance in Karachi, the FBI has finally conceded that an MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist is alive and is in US custody in Afghanistan.

    Aafia Siddiqui, 36, disappeared with her three children while visiting her parents’ home in Karachi in March 2003, around the same time the FBI announced that it wanted to question her over her alleged links to Al Qaeda.

    Her family’s lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp said she believed recent media reports about Mrs Siddiqui’s incarceration increased pressure on the US and Pakistani authorities to divulge more information.

    “I don’t believe that they just found Aafia,” she said. “I believe that she was there all along.”

    The fate of her three young, American-born children is still unknown.

    Before her disappearance, Mrs Siddiqui lived in a Boston suburb of Roxbury and studied at Brandeis University as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    In a 2006 report, Amnesty International listed Mrs Siddiqui as among a number of “disappeared” suspects in the war on terrorism. On July 6, 2007, AI listed Mrs Siddiqui as a possible CIA “secret detainee”, although she was still on the FBI’s Seeking Information – Terrorism list. Late last week, Mrs Siddiqui’s photo still appeared on the FBI’s list of people wanted for questioning.

    Since no charges were ever filed against her, human rights groups treated her case as that of “extrajudicial detention”, although no government ever claimed detaining her.

    Even the FBI does not mention any charges in the notice seeking information about her. “Although the FBI has no information indicating this individual is connected to specific terrorist activities, the FBI would like to locate and question this individual,” says the notice.

    The “gray lady of Bagram”: On July 7, a British journalist Yvonne Ridley told a news conference in Islamabad that a Pakistani woman had been held in solitary confinement for years at the Bagram US base near Kabul. The identity of this prisoner remains unconfirmed. She has been nicknamed the “gray lady of Bagram”. Ms Ridley, however, speculated that she was Aafia Siddiqui.

    Moazzam Begg and several other former captives also have reported that a female prisoner, prisoner 650, was held in Bagram. The former captives claim that she has lost her sanity and cries all the time.

    Although it is still not clear if the “gray lady of Bagram” is Aafia Siddiqui, her family’s attorney told reporters on Friday that the FBI had finally conceded that Mrs Siddiqui is in US custody.

    “It has been confirmed by the FBI that Aafia Siddiqui is alive,” said Ms Sharp, who said she spoke to an FBI official on Thursday.

    “She is injured but alive, and she is in Afghanistan.”

    For five years, US and Pakistani authorities denied knowing her whereabouts. But human rights groups and Mrs Siddiqui’s relatives had long suspected that she had been captured in Karachi and secretly taken into custody.

    On Thursday, an FBI official visited Mrs Siddiqui’s brother in Houston to deliver the news that she was alive and in custody, Ms Sharp said.

    FBI officials, however, would not say who was holding her or reveal the fate of her children.

    “If she’s in US custody, they want to know where she is,” Ms Sharp said. “Who has got her? And does she need medical care?”

    The FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment.

    US military documents declassified in recent years suggest that Mrs Siddiqui is suspected of having ties to several key terrorism suspects being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

    She is believed to have links to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and allegedly arranged travel documents for another suspected terrorist.

    Papers in Guantanamo Bay also indicate that she married Ali Abd Al Aziz Ali, an alleged Al Qaeda facilitator who intended to blow up petrol stations or poison water reservoirs in the United States.

    The three men were among 14 high-value suspects brought to Guantanamo Bay in 2006 after years of secret detention in CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

  9. fawwaz on August 4th, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

    Please sign The Petition for the Release of The Pakistani women Dr. Afia Siddiqui & Her 3 Children

    To: Un Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, Islamic Human Rights Commission

    We endorse the Appeal for the Release of Dr. Afia Siddiqui & Her 3 Children Petition to Un Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, Islamic Human Rights Commission.

    Join Us On FaceBook

    Spread the word by email & SMS to all your contacts so as to create more pressure

  10. sceptic on August 5th, 2008 @ 6:12 am

    Conspiracy theories are well …based on conspiracy\08\05\story_5-8-2008_pg1_9

  11. ameerhamza on August 5th, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

    From DAWN website:

    Pakistan demands access to Dr Aafia Siddiqui in U.S. KARACHI, Aug 5 (Reuters):

    Pakistan demanded consular access to Dr Aafia Siddiqui, accused of suspected links to al Qaeda. She is due to be arraigned in New York on Tuesday on charges of attempting to murder U.S. troops and FBI agents in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington made the request for consular access on Monday, Pakistan’s state-run news agency said. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) demanded the Pakistani government intervene and secure her release. “Dr. Aafia’s case is a reminder of the grave injustice done to God knows how many Pakistanis in U.S. detention facilities in Bagram in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, who have been listed as missing” an HRCP statement said. The story of her arrest is one of the strangest to emerge since the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on the United States. Family members said Siddiqui was raped and tortured at Bagram, although they did not say how they knew this. The New York Times newspaper said Dr Aafia Siddiqui had links to at least two of 14 suspected high-level Al-Qaeda members held in Guantanamo Bay. (Posted @ 21:05 PST)

  12. ameerhamza on August 5th, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

    From DAWN website of the same day (5th Aug, 2008):

    Afia Siddiqui’s family says death threats received KARACHI, Aug 5 (AFP):

    The family of Aafia Siddiqui, facing terrorism charges in the United States said Tuesday that they had received death threats warning them not to discuss her case. Mother-of-three Aafia Siddiqui was extradited to the United States on charges of shooting at US soldiers while in detention in Afghanistan, a US attorney said. Siddiqui, 36, disappeared from Karachi in 2003 and appeared on a list of US suspects linked to Al-Qaeda the following year. “Our lives are in serious danger,” her sister Fauzia Siddiqui, a doctor living in Karachi, told AFP. “We are receiving threats through phone calls and SMS not to dicuss or pursue Aafia’s case. I do not know who are the people threatening us,” she said. (Posted @ 17:00 PST)

  13. ameerhamza on August 8th, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

    An article by Yvonne Ridley, award winning British journalist who was captured and later released by Taliban. She later converted to Islam citing Taliban’s extraordinary behaviour.


    Hoover, the FBI, and Aafia Siddiqui

    I personally spoke with Lt. Col. Mark Wright at the US Pentagon who denied all knowledge of Prisoner 650 or Dr Aafia Siddique.

    The FBI lost much of its credibility when its chief J. Edgar Hoover was revealed to be a transvestite who preferred to be called Mary.

    Hoover, probably the most powerful men in America some say even more powerful then the presidents he served under, was the originator of dirty tricks campaign and kept a lot of dirt on other people in his files.

    The only players who were immune to Hoover’s secret files were those who had secrets of their own about his personal life – namely, the Mafia. Mafia bosses obtained information about Hoover’s sex life and used it for decades to keep the FBI at bay. Without this, the Mafia as we know it might never have gained its hold in America.

    In May of 1972, Hoover – approaching his fifty-five-year anniversary with the Justice Department – boasted that the FBI remained the organization that he built upon his own principles and standards – of course now we know exactly what standards Hoover aka Mary had.

    The FBI never really recovered its power or prestige once Hoover was ousted as a cross dresser.

    There was more scandal to follow when Acting Director L. Patrick Gray was forced to resign after being caught up in the Watergate drama which brought down President Richard Nixon aka Tricky Dicky.

    The FBI is supposed to be an institute based around freedom and democracy; instead it has become a factory from which lies and deceit are manufactured.

    The reason for this brief history lesson into the FBI will now become apparent.

    You see it is quite obvious that from cross dressers, liars and fraudsters, the FBI has now moved into the realms of fantasy land with the news that Dr. Aafia Siddique has "conveniently" been found outside a governor’s office in Afghanistan with her 12 year old son … FIVE years after her disappearance in Karachi.

    According to the FBI she was in possession of "numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal, descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City" – you know, all the regular stuff a female terrorist would carry in her handbag!

    The fantasists who concocted this story may as well have put Dr. Siddique in Hoover’s old red dress while they were on with it.

    What we do know is that she has been shot at and injured. She was extradited to New York last night (Monday) and is being held in a prison in Manhatten down the road from the nightclub where Hoover used to pose as Mary.

    She faces charges of attempted murder and assault of a US officer.

    Does the FBI really think we are all that stupid and gullible?

    Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – who had been sought by the FBI for several years regarding terrorism according to their website – is accused of shooting at two FBI special agents, a US Army warrant officer, an Army captain and military interpreters who unknowingly entered a room where she was being held unsecured.

    She fired two shots, but hit no one, officials said. The warrant officer returned fire with a pistol, shooting Siddiqui at least once. She struggled with the officers before she lost consciousness, said officials, adding that she received medical attention.

    The day before the shootings, Afghan police had arrested Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound after finding bomb-making instructions, excerpts from the "Anarchist’s Arsenal," papers with descriptions of US landmarks and substances sealed 20 in bottles and glass jars.

    This all happened two weeks after I had given a press conference in Islamabad calling on the US to handover Prisoner 650 – The Grey lady of Bagram.

    Coincidence? May be – but if the FBI think that we are going to buy the bovine scatterings they have just released to the US media they really do live in La La Land.

    Let’s look at the cold hard fact of the case.

    Dr Siddiqui, 36, is an American-educated neuroscientist. Since 2003, Siddiqui’s whereabouts have been the source of much speculation. According to Amnesty International, Siddiqui and her three small children were reported apprehended in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2003 after the FBI issued at alert requesting information about her location earlier that month.

    Several reports indicated Siddiqui was in US custody after her arrest in Karachi. But in May 2004 then-Attorney General Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller identified Siddiqui among several sought-after al Qaeda members.

    Human rights group and a lawyer for Ms. Siddiqui, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, say they believe that she has been secretly detained since 2003, for much of that time at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

    "We believe Aafia has been in custody ever since she disappeared," Ms. Sharp said in a telephone interview yesterday, "and we’re not willing to believe that the discovery of Aafia in Afghanistan is coincidence."

    American military and intelligence officials said that Ms. Siddiqui was in Pakistan for most of the past five years until she resurfaced last month and was captured by the Afghans.

    She and her 12-year-old son were arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan, on July 17. The American officials accused Ms Siddiqui trying to bomb the residence of Ghazni’s provincial governor.

    Someone who also does not buy this nonsense is Asim Qureshi, Senior Researcher for the British-based international human rights organization Cage prisoners has issued the following statement, "There are many questions that the FBI and the Pakistani government need to answer in light of this admission. Why have the FBI continued to pretend to be seeking her while all the while knowing of her detention in Afghanistan? Is Aafia indeed Prisoner 650 whose screams were heard by former Bagram prisoners?

    "Aafia Siddiqui is a woman who has been plagued by a number of problems in her life, none of which have anything to do with involvement with al-Qaeda. During the years the US claim she was working as an operative for the organization she was in fact the victim of domestic violence at the hands of an abusive husband. Community members in Boston declare that she was incapable of any violence, let alone being involved with a terrorist group.

    "Whilst we welcome this disclosure reform the FBI, it has only come after mounting international pressure, and five years of detention and abuse. Siddiqui’s case represents the problem of disappearances in Pakistan in the most tragic way. The acceptance by the FBI that Siddiqui has been in custody in Afghanistan raises important questions which must be answered by the Pakistani and US governments. Siddiqui must be returned to Pakistan in order to faces charges for any crime she may have committed or released along with her children."

    Cage prisoners have led 20th campaign for Aafia Siddiqui for the past three years. Since her disappearance in March 2003 in Karachi, along with her three young children, the FBI has continually denied reports of her detention and that she was in their custody.

    I am proud to be a patron of Cage Prisoners. Less than two weeks before this fiasco emerged, I traveled to Pakistan with Cage prisoners Director, Saghir Hussain, to launch their report, Devoid of the Rule of the Law, at a press conference organized by Imran Khan.

    The press conference sparked an international storm of outrage, when I asked my colleagues in the Pakistan media to put pressure on the US to identify Prisoner 650 and the release of Aafia Siddiqui.

    I personally spoke with Lt. Col. Mark Wright at the US Pentagon who denied all knowledge of Prisoner 650 or Dr Aafia Siddique.

    Now I do not believe for one minute Lt. Col. Wright was lying – in fact I did suggest to him that the people he was speaking to in Afghanistan (the FBI) might be lying to him. I did ask him to call me back when he had the facts.

    Perhaps Lt. Col. Wright you might want to make that call now and tell me the truth about Dr. Siddique and Prisoner 650 … but whatever you do mate, do not get your facts from the FBI which stands for Fantasy Brigade International … and that’s just the polite version.

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