Aafia did not have lawyer of her choice. Government has to fulfill its promise and bring Aafia home.
A federal appeals court yesterday upheld the conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, and affirmed her sentence of 86 years in a U.S. maximum security prison. The outcome was no surprise to those who have been following Dr. Aafia's ordeal since she was illegally rendered from Afghanistan to U.S. jurisdiction in 2008.
The appeal was filed by the very same lawyers who Dr. Aafia had unsuccessfully attempted to fire repeatedly. The attorneys representing Dr. Aafia in the appeal did so over her objections, and had no relationship with Dr. Aafia – they have never even met with Aafia during her incarceration and never consulted Aafia concerning her appeal.
More fundamentally, this latest result from the U.S. legal proceedings simply underscores that justice in this case cannot be served in US courts – in which Dr. Aafia was convicted based entirely on the words of the very same U.S. soldiers who shot and nearly killed her. Her conviction thus unsurprising, despite the facts that the soldiers who shot Dr. Siddiqui (1) had an obvious motive to lie or say they shot her in self-defense, (2) told wildly inconsistent stories at trial, and (3) were contradicted by all forensic evidence in the case . As former Attorney General of the United States, Ramsey Clark said during his recent advocacy mission to Pakistan on her behalf, "Aafia has fallen victim of international politics of power.” "
Dr. Aafia is a Pakistani citizen who is accused of crimes which occurred in Afghanistan. Her transfer to the U.S. for trial was illegal under international law, and despite the fact that all forensic evidence in the case supported Dr. Aafia's version of the fact, prosecutors in the case were still able to obtain a conviction by taking advantage of fear and prejudice in the minds of U.S. jurors was tried only a few meters from the site of the 9/11 attacks and wore Islamic dress at trial – the prosecution portrayed her as someone to be feared.
For all these reasons, the Siddiqui family has consistently advocated for a diplomatic solution for this highly-charged political case. Pakistani authorities were complicit in the abduction of Dr. Aafia and her three small children in 2003, and subsequently in her illegal detention and torture for 5 years in secret prisons at the behest of U.S. authorities. Therefore it is incumbent upon the government of Pakistan to right this grave wrong committed against this daughter of the nation, and demand Dr. Aafia's repatriation to Pakistan without further delay. This would not only give a much-needed boost to Pak-US relations, but would serve as a stepping stone towards peace in the region.
The Siddiqui Family wishes to thank all the supporters worldwide for their efforts These efforts will not go in vain – and our struggle will continue untill freedom rings.
Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui today stated:
"We are grateful to God Almighty for his Blessings and this decision has strengthened our faith that victory is now very close just as Aafia's two children were recovered we will succeed. While we unite globally hand in hand for Peace Justice and Freedom Aafia will be amongst her loved ones soon".