On Saturday in the city of Colleyville in the state of Texas, a man of British nationality, took hostage the Beth Israel Synagogue.
The hostage taker told authorities he wanted the release of Aafia Siddiqui, convicted in 2010 of attempted murder of U.S. soldiers, from federal prison.
He even presumed to be Aafia Siddiqui’s brother, Muhammad Siddiqui. However, the siblings’ lawyers, both confirmed that, neither Aafia nor Muhammad are involved in the hostage situation.
Who Is Aafia Siddiqui?
Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani neuroscientist. She earned her PhD at Brandeis University in 2001.
She returned to Pakistan for a time following the 9/11 attacks and again in 2003 during the war in Afghanistan.
Khalid Sheikh Muhammad named her a courier and financier for Al-Qaeda, and she was placed on the FBI Seeking Information – Terrorism list.
Five years later, she is seen in Ghazni, Afghanistan, and was arrested by Afghan police and held for questioning by the FBI. This arrest will seal her fate.
During the second day in custody, she allegedly shot at visiting U.S. FBI and Army personnel with an M4 carbine one of the interrogators had placed on the floor by his feet.
She was shot in the torso when a warrant officer returned fire. She was hospitalized, treated and then extradited to the US.
In September 2008 she was indicted on charges of assault and attempted murder of a US soldier in the police station in Ghazni, charges she denied. She was convicted on 3 February 2010 and later sentenced to 86 years in prison, despite her defense noting that, the nine government witnesses offered conflicting accounts of how many people were in the room, where they were positioned and how many shots were fired.
Aafia Siddiqui was found guilty in 2010 of two counts of attempted murder for trying to kill Americans while she was detained in Afghanistan.
Siddiqui, 49, was convicted by a federal jury in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. officers in Afghanistan and is currently serving a 86-year sentence at FMC [ Federal Medical Center] Carswell, a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.
Her Sister Fawzia, the Rape & Sexual Abuse
Aafia’s sister, Fawzia, has claimed that her sister has been raped and physically abused.
Fowzia, is a neurologist and Harvard graduate who worked at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore before she returned to Pakistan.
According to Fowzia, her sister Aafia was allegedly raped and sexually assaulted, tortured until she signed forced confessions, forcibly drugged, beaten with rifles until she bled, forced to walk on the Quran naked, and forced to watch her children be tortured in front of her.
Other prisoners in the prison would hear her screams day and night, eventually leading them to carry out a hunger strike for six days in protest of her abuse by the American captors. These reports were given credence in mid-2008 when British journalist Yvonne Ridley told the Daily News of Pakistan about a Pakistani woman who had been held in solitary confinement in the Bagram prison for years.
According to the Tribune, a confidential report prepared by Pakistan’s consul general in Houston, United States of America, of her visit to Dr Aafia Siddiqui claimed that she was subjected to physical and sexual abuse during her ongoing detention.
Consul General Aisha Farooqui visited Aafia at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas. The report recommends diplomatic authorities to take up the case at the highest levels to find a way for her repatriation so that she can serve her remaining sentence in Pakistan, where her modesty and privacy would not be interfered with.
“For a practising Muslim woman to be incarcerated in a facility where there was an existential threat of being raped and sexually abused repeatedly is an untenable situation and should not be allowed to continue. In spite of all this, I found Dr Aafia determined, hopeful and full of faith in Allah and Pakistani people that there will be help sent for their daughter specially and that sooner rather than later she would get out of the prison,” CG Farooqui wrote in the report.
Aafia’s sister Fowzia Siddiqui submitted the report of the consul general’s May 23 meeting with her.
The report presents details of the miserable state of Aafia, who is being detained, and details of her struggles to protect her dignity, integrity and respect paint a different picture altogether.
“She repeatedly told me she was constantly disturbed in her room and her privacy was consistently violated by jail staff who harassed her, threatened her and attempted to sexually abuse her as well on a number of occasions. Jail staff, including her case supervisor Annie Noblett, barged into her room, confiscated her belongings and made fun of her and even snatched her scarf off her head,” the report read.
“Her belongings were often missing she was of the view that there could be some drugs given to her which made her incoherent and not in her senses like on the three occasions when had visited her previously,” CG Farooqui wrote in the report.
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