Dr. Aafia’s new legal team announced
August 17, 2009
STATEMENT FROM THE FAMILY OF DR. AAFIA TO ANNOUNCE A NEW LEGAL TEAM.
The family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui would like to thank God Almighty for the many blessings He has provided in the struggle to end Aafia's nightmarish captivity. The most visible manifestation of this has been the enormous support of the Pakistani people along with people of conscious around the world. For this we are humbled and grateful. We also want to thank the many sincere and courageous people in the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistani embassy in Washington, D.C. whose efforts made history by exercising Pakistan’s right under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations to provide a legal defense for Aafia.
Time was running out and it had become clear to all observers that the court appointed attorneys could not mount an effective defense of our sister, daughter, and mother, in part because of the severe handicaps placed on them by the court in terms of resources, independence and limited time allotted to them. The court appointed counsel was relieved by Aafia in open court on July 6th. 2009 and we no longer consider them to be Aafia's lawyers.
In partnership with the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), we recommended and endorse the legal team retained by the Government of Pakistan to defend Aafia. We are hopeful that the team, consisting of Ms. Linda Moreno, Ms. Elaine Sharp and Mr. Charles Swift will work in the best interests of Aafia and strive to get her home in a speedy fashion despite the challenges of time imposed by the court. Each of these attorneys have demonstrated their skill and unwavering commitment to justice, and we trust they will apply their passion and dedication to Aafia’s case. In addition, we pray that the diplomatic efforts by the government of Pakistan on Aafia's behalf will continue unimpeded.
Her trial is less than nine weeks away and the presiding judge has made it clear that he does not intend to allow additional time for the new counsel to prepare or for the results of an independent investigation into the allegations made by the prosecution. Meanwhile, Aafia's conditions of confinement are worse than that of a convicted felon. This environment makes it impossible for her to trust a system that preaches "presumed innocence" but treats her diametrically opposite.
In spite of these challenges, we are confident of Aafia’s innocence of the charges against her. We ask that the people of Pakistan and supporters everywhere join with us in prayer that Allah, the Most Merciful, grants Aafia the freedom to soon be home with her family.