Aafia Held in Secret Prisons: Lawyer
Countercurrents.org; VOC Radio
"Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was no more a terrorist than Nelson Mandela. "
Those were the words of conviction spoken by Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, on VOC’s "Drivetime" on Monday.
According to Whitfield Sharp, this is a case that many will never understand completely. "From the defense’s point of view, I can relate our position on the facts:
Aafia Siddiqui was picked up in Karachi, Pakistan in March 2003. We believe that she was rendered, which is taken illegally against Pakistani law, by Pakistani forces and the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)."
"We believe she was then taken to some off-site country — a third-world nation, possibly Jordan or Afghanistan — where she was detained for five years in a black site or secret prison. Here she was forced to create documents to incriminate herself to support what we see in this war on terror. She was then dumped in Afghanistan with a bag that conveniently had incriminating documents."
Siddiqui’s story was then picked up in the "world hysteria against Muslims and terrorism." She was brought to the United States and charged with firing at US personal at the Afghan national police headquarters in Ghazni. One of the US personnel, who was a warrant officer, shot her in the abdomen, claiming that she picked up an M4 rifle and fired it at the group.
However, Whitfield Sharp said that, contrary to the accusation, there were no bullet fragments found or any damage to the wall. There were also no fingerprints found on the gun and the witnesses testimony conflicted in several ways, thus there were many discrepancies in the forensic evidence.
Siddiqui is the mother of three children, Ahmed, Mariam and the youngest Suleiman. Since her capture in 2003, Ahmed and Mariam have been recovered, but Suleiman’s whereabouts are unknown and he is feared dead. "According to Siddiqui, on the day she left her mother’s house with her three children, the cab they left in detoured from the usual route to the station," the lawyer related.
"The driver took a back road and this is when two black cars pulled up, held the cab driver at gunpoint while the other men opened the back door and took the children.
Siddiqui herself was then dragged from the cab and given something that knocked her out. Ahmed corroborated this, saying he too was made unconscious. Next thing she woke up strapped to a gurney. Reports in the Urdu speaking press in Pakistan stated she was seen and picked up on a CIA transport plane."
Whitfield Sharp said Siddiqui was continually tortured whilst in custody and was shown pictures of what was deemed her dead son, face down in a pool of blood. "Siddiqui said she was drugged, electrocuted, tortured and threatened with her kids being harmed. They threatened to rape her daughter, told her that Ahmed was dead and said that they would shoot her baby son and asked if she would she like to watch."
"Her daughter just appeared last year outside their house in Karachi. A car pulled up, threw Mariam out and sped off. Siddiqui’s sister Fowzia, a Harvard trained neurologist, is taking care of both children. Ironically enough, Siddiqui was sent to Carswell Federal Medical Centre, which is a facility where people are treated for mental illness. Do the math! At the facility she has been declared mentally unstable and I believe she is ill as a result of what has happened to her."
An appeal has been filed, and, in the lawyer’s view, the trial had been fair in many ways, except that a considerable amount of the evidence was kept out. "There are very many excellent issues for appeal and it is going forward. The brief for appeal is due in April. As you know, there have been some WikiLeaks cables leaked suggesting that the CIA were using agents to infiltrate the Taliban, which makes one think what role Dr. Siddiqui was forced into once she was rendered and tortured at the beginning of March 2003."
"What we do know is Aafia Siddiqui says she was tortured and, unlike the witnesses’ contradicting testimonies that went all over the place, Aafia’s has never changed."
Full interview here