As the third day of testimony in the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui came to a close, after the jury left the room defense Attorney Charles Swift objected to the use of metal detectors and the demand for ID’s to enter the courtroom.
In his objection Swift said that to his knowledge this has never happened before in a courtroom in America and that it is “prejudicial to the jury” giving them the impression that they should have something to fear from her public supporters. Swift also complained that it interferes with her right to a free and fair trial open to the public.
Yesterday, only members of the public were asked to go through the metal detectors positioned directly in front of the courtroom. However, today everyone, including jurors, had to go through the process.
Many members of the public also objected to their names being entered on a written log. Some promised that they would be filing a complaint with the ACLU. “It’s intimidating”, said a woman who came to support Dr. Siddiqui. “I wonder why they’re asking for it and what they’ll do with it later”.
All persons entering the building must go through metal detectors as they enter so it is unclear what security purpose a second detector serves. In response to the objection Judge Richard Berman said that he was “not aware that it was happening” and that he would “look into it”.