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U.S. Sentence for Pakistani Ignites Anger and Protests


The New York Times

Sep 24, 2010


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s leaders and opposition politicians on Friday were quick to express outrage at the sentence handed down to a Pakistani woman who was convicted of trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents. By the time weekly prayers ended, protesters were battling the police, and the Pakistani Taliban had offered its support.

The woman, Aafia Siddique, was sentenced on Thursday to 86 years in prison in Federal District Court in Manhattan. In Pakistan, where Ms. Siddique is widely seen as an innocent victim of a vengeful American justice system, anger at the sentence ran deep.

Ms. Siddique, 38, … was convicted of seizing an M4 rifle weapon from one of her American interrogators there and trying to kill soldiers and F.B.I. agents. She was severely wounded in the episode.

Ms. Siddique and her lawyers said that she never fired a weapon. Her family and supporters contend that in 2003 she disappeared with her three children, before turning up in Afghanistan five years ago. They say she was either held in a secret jail by American authorities or Pakistan’s spy agency.

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