Protest for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – Press Club @ 6pm [today]

Protest against Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s Inhuman & Illegal Detention By US Military

Karachi Press Club – SATURDAY, 9th August 2008 at 6:00 pm
RSVP Facebook Event

Karachiites have jointly decided to condemn the illegal detention and inhuman treatment given to Dr. Afia Siddiqui in Afghanistan since 2003.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a highly qualified scientist was kidnapped along with her three children from Karachi in 2003. Since then she has been missing while the Government of Pakistan and US military authorities have refused to acknowledge her existence for the past five years. Recently the human rights activist Yvonne Ridley highlighted the presence of a certain prisoner held captive in US Military jail in Afghanistan called Prisoner 650 who had much resemblance to the Pakistani doctor missing since 2003.

Since then the US Government has tried to launch a massive cover while ’suddenly finding her’ in July 2008 after which she has been charged with assaulting a US officer and is under prosecution in a New York Magistrate court on these counts.

The people of Karachi will come together at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday 9th August 2008 at 6:00 pm to protest her illegal detention and inhuman treatment.

  • This will be a peaceful protest call issued by citizens of Karachi
  • The participants will protest against her illegal kidnapping in 2003 along with her children
  • The participants will vehemently condemn the inhuman treatment meted out to her in the five years of being held captive in US Military custody
  • We are appealing for swift and immediate withdrawal of all her charges
  • The participants will appeal for effort to secure her immediate release form her American captives
  • The Pakistani government will be urged to ensure complete financial support for securing her release including full legal support, medical coverage and transportation back into Pakistan
  • The American ambassador Hussain Haqani is urged to use his offices to ensure this innocence citizen of Pakistan is served with justice
  • We suggest the Government of Pakistan provide Dr Aafia and her family full medical and financial support after her return to help her get back into normal daily life

We request all Pakistanis to join hands to condemn this action against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Let us stand together to help Dr Aafia return home to Pakistan.

Organized and Supported by the People’s Resistance (PR) a coalition of citizens, comprising students, teachers, doctors, journalists, professionals, and human rights organizations, came together to oppose measures taken under ‘emergency rule’ on 03 November 2007. As a civil society advocacy and watchdog group, PR stands for the complete and unconditional restoration of the November 03, 2007 judiciary.

6 Comments so far

  1. sceptic on August 9th, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

    I wonder who speaks for Karachiities? Let us see how many gathered at the press club?

  2. balma on August 11th, 2008 @ 11:12 am

    I am just so sad and depressed from this whole thing. I have no idea of the truth here, but where are her children?

  3. ameerhamza on August 13th, 2008 @ 9:34 am

    Balma, today’s DAWN has this shocking news item on your question, ‘I have no idea of the truth here, but where are her children?’

    A letter published in DAWN on 13th Aug, 2008 has this to say:

    Who killed Aafia’s baby?

    THIS refers to your editorial, ‘Dr Aafia’s strange case’ (Aug 9) and the report, ‘Government asked to move ICJ in Aafia case’ regarding the demands raised by the Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) in Islamabad and Lahore, of Aug 8.

    It was unspeakably horrifying to learn from the JAP statement that a six-month-old child of the incarcerated Pakistani neuroscientist was murdered during their detention.

    It will be recalled that Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her three kids, who were between the ages of four months and seven years at the time, were handed over to the Americans five years ago, according to Pakistani interior ministry officials, as reported then.

    After that there was no news and they were obviously being held by the FBI, most probably at Bagram in Afghanistan.

    After much hue and cry began to be raised since the July 7 press conference by a British woman journalist, the Americans apparently decided to cook up another story about her attacking their men with a gun and getting shot in the foot herself.

    After that, she was immediately whisked away to New York and indicted in a court.

    While her own lawyer Elaine Sharp is not allowed to meet her, the court appointed a pro-bono lawyer, Elizabeth M. Fink, to defend her.

    Ms Fink asked how could the woman weighing a mere 90 pounds attack Americans with a gun?

    Judge Ronald Ellis expressed surprise as to how she was extradited to the US so quickly when it takes longer to extradite people within two locations inside New York? (Aug 7).

    Meanwhile, Aafia’s elder sister Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, who is here from the US to raise support for the former, has reportedly said that Aafia has been subjected to plastic surgery.

    The only reason for that appears to be the Americans’ attempt to remove signs of torture that may have become visible on her face.

    All of this goes to show the American agency/army has been acting in a very inhumane and highly biased manner.

    I wholeheartedly support your concern about her getting justice and the JAP demand that Dr Siddiqui’s case should be put before the International Court of Justice, because that is the one place where she could find justice.

    Also, Pakistani women’s rights organisations must lead the nation in ensuring justice for Aafia Siddiqui and her children.


  4. ameerhamza on August 13th, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

    And more:

    KARACHI: Dr Aafia’s life is in danger, says sister

    KARACHI, Aug 12: Dr Fouzia Siddiqui has expressed fears that American agencies might kill her sister, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a PhD in neuro-cognitive science who has reportedly been under detention for more than five years for her alleged links with Al Qaeda, saying that one Saood Memon was earlier tortured to death by the agencies before his production in court.

    Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, she said her sister, escorted by US soldiers and agency personnel, was brought on a wheelchair to court.

    “Dr Aafia could not even stand due to her wounds,” she said, adding that it seemed as if she was not being provided any medical treatment.

    Dr Fouzia, a neurologist who used to work at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, said she learnt from some media reports that the kidneys of her sister were not working yet the US government did not allow her to consult a doctor.

    Quoting her brother, who managed to meet Dr Aafia in court after getting permission from the authorities concerned, she said that her sister was near death.

    “The inhuman treatment being meted out to her is a slap on face of American civilisation,” she said, adding that even her two children who had the US nationality were being deprived of basic human rights.

    Her only mistake was that she wore a headscarf and offered regular prayers which the US did not like, Dr Fouzia said, alleging that the local security agencies were fully involved in handing over her to Americans. “Without the active help of Pakistani agencies it was not possible [for the United States] to shift my sister abroad,” she said.

    If the scientist was involved in any criminal activity, her trial should be conducted in Pakistan, she said.

    President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Karachi chapter, Khalid Khawaja said that he had repeatedly contacted on phone the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, and requested him to ask the American government to provide medical facilities and other human rights to Dr Aafia. However, the US authorities did not pay attention to their sentiments.

    He demanded that the government of Pakistan give “the required surety to the US authorities regarding Dr Aafia as she was a Pakistani citizen.”—PPI

  5. ameerhamza on August 15th, 2008 @ 8:20 am

    And today in DAWN:

    Prisoner No. 650 and a war on innocents

    By Aijaz Zaka Syed

    JUST when you think that Uncle Sam’s war of terror has no more surprises to spring on an unsuspecting world, it comes up with yet another gem. Take the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who grew up in the US and went to top universities including the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She appeared in a New York court this past week as a ‘top Al Qaeda’ terrorist.

    She had to leave the US when the authorities began harassing her and her husband for their charity activities in the wake of the Sept 11 upheavals. The family lived in Karachi and one day in March 2003, this talented young woman went missing with her three children when she was on her way to Karachi airport to catch a flight to Islamabad.

    This week, after five years, she resurfaced in a New York court. She was barely able to walk and speak, which was not surprising given the fact she had been involved in a “gunfight with FBI agents” in Afghanistan. The US authorities claim Dr Siddiqui was captured near the governor’s offices in Ghazni only last month with a bag carrying “suspicious liquids in tubes”. We are told Siddiqui assaulted a team of US troops and FBI officials with a highly sophisticated weapon when they went to quiz her in Afghanistan.

    There are some basic questions that an ordinary mind like mine just can’t seem to figure out.

    First, where was Aafia Siddiqui hiding or hidden all these years since she went missing in Karachi in March 2003? How did she turn up in the remote Ghazni province in Afghanistan, of all the godforsaken places? And what happened to her three children?Second, if the MIT-educated neuroscientist was indeed an Al Qaeda mastermind, why wasn’t she presented in a court of law all this while? Even today when she is facing the US law, she is not being tried on terrorism charges but for allegedly assaulting US officials. So what’s her original crime, if she has committed one?

    Third, why wasn’t the Pakistani government informed about her detention in Afghanistan and her subsequent deportation to the US? Or is Pakistan also involved in this international enterprise against a 31-year old mom of three?

    There are so many gaping holes in this ‘case’ that Elaine Whitfield Sharp, Siddiqui’s lawyer, believes she has been put on trial now because she has “become a terrible embarrassment” to the US and Afghan authorities.

    The question is why has she been reinvented now? It is quite possible that Siddiqui has been found now because of a relentless campaign by British journalist Yvonne Ridley. Ridley herself had been a prisoner of the Taliban regime for 11 days just before the US invasion in 2001 and converted to Islam after her strange experience in Afghanistan.

    Ridley has been running a campaign called Cage Prisoner for the release of a female prisoner who has been held at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan in total isolation and regularly tortured for five years.

    The unknown female prisoner, known as ‘Prisoner No. 650’ and ‘The Grey Lady of Bagram’, was brought to the world’s attention after Ridley read about the woman in a book by fellow Briton Moazzam Beg, a former Gitmo and Bagram prisoner. In his book, Enemy Combatant, Beg talks of a woman’s endless screams for help as she was tortured. Beg first thought he was imagining his wife’s screams.

    “However, we now know the screams came from a woman who has been held in Bagram for some years. And she is ‘Prisoner No. 650’,” Ridley disclosed at a recent press conference in Pakistan.

    And I strongly suspect that ‘Prisoner No. 650’ is none other than Dr Aafia Siddiqui. It is quite possible that her captors decided to end her isolation after the Pakistani press and activists like Yvonne Ridley began increasingly talking of the mysterious ‘Prisoner No. 650’ and how she was tortured and abused physically, mentally and sexually for the past four years.

    The Aafia Siddiqui case may have come to the world’s attention because of some conscientious activists. What about all those innocent individuals, who have just vanished down the black hole called the Guantanamo Bay, without a trial and without anyone looking for them?

    The writer is a Dubai-based commentator.

  6. balma on August 15th, 2008 @ 6:52 pm

    Can anyone try to find out from Edhi Center(s)?

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