Aafia Siddiqui Trial Articles
Fear Vs Fact in Aafia Siddiqui Case
February 5, 2010
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No issue has evoked such impassioned and divergent opinions than the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who was found guilty on 7 counts of attempted murder and assault of U.S. Nationals by a 12 member jury in a federal court in New York City this week.

With allegations of being an Al-Qaeda operative headlining nearly every report in the American media and allegations that she was held in a secret prison and tortured for the 5 years before her capture dominating reports in the Pakistani media, the only way to get close to a “common sense” perspective is to take a look at what we actually do know and don’t know about this case.

We do know that in March of 2003 Aafia Siddiqui was a mother of 3 children who disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan as she was on her way to the airport, along with her three children.

We do know that in 2003 the children were Suleman under-6 months, Maryam-Age 3, and Ahmed-Age 7

We do know that in March 2003 she was named by the FBI as a “person of interest”.

We do know that early in March 2003 Khalid Sheik Mohammed was captured by Pakistanis, turned over to Americans, and interrogated in which he named Aafia Siddiqui as an Al Qaeda “fixer”

We do know that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was water boarded almost 100 times during his interrogation.

We do know that a little later in March 2003 Aafia Siddiqui’s ex-husband, Amjad Khan, was questioned by FBI officials and released.

We do know that at the time the couple had gone through a bitter divorce.

We do know that in 2002 Aafia Siddiqui’s husband, Amjad Khan, was questioned by the FBI for purchasing “night vision goggles” and “military manuals” over the internet and that Aafia was questioned incidentally as his wife.

We do know that Amjad Khan admitted to purchasing the equipment but said that it was for big gaming hunting for a relative and was not detained by the FBI.

We do know that the couple were having marital problems at the time which included allegations of domestic abuse.

We do know that the Siddiqui’s familiy’s claims that Aafia was a victim of domestic abuse was corroborated by friends and colleagues of Siddiqui from Brandeis

We do know that in April and May 2003 there were reports in the American media that Dr. Siddiqui was being “detained” for questioning by Pakistani authorities regarding her alleged ties to Al-Qaeda. “U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly interrogating a Pakistani woman alleged to have moved funds and assisted with logistics planning for al-Qaeda.” The NBC report makes clear that she is “not considered a member of Al-Qaeda” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xwCHha5ITM
http://web.archive.org/web/20070416115222/http://www.intellnet.org/news/2003/04/03/19137-1.html

We do know that she was considered a “person of interest” by the FBI in 2003 and wanted for questioning.

We do know that there were reports in 2003 in some Pakistani newspapers as well, that Siddiqui and her children were picked up by both Pakistani and American intelligence.

We do know that in 2004 the FBI gave a press conference in which they labeled her as one of seven most wanted “terrorist”. At that time they denied having her in their custody.

We do know that shortly after that press conference in 2004 numerous media reports accused Siddiqui of transferring diamonds to Liberia for Al Qaeda in mid June 2001, 3 months before 9/11

We do know, however, that in mid-June 2001 Aafia Siddiqui was with her husband and kids in Boston running a play group.

We do know that in 2005 former detainees at Bagram began alleging that there was a female prisoner being held at the prison who was from Pakistan.

We do know that the U.S. Government at the time denied having any women at Bagram.

We do know that in 2006 Amnesty International Reported Aafia Siddiqui as a “missing person” believed to be in U.S. Custody.

We do know that in 2007 Human Rights Watch named Aafia Siddiqui as a “missing person” possibly held in U.S. custody.

We do know that in June 2008 journalist, Yvonne Ridley, alleged that Aafia Siddiqui was prisoner 650 held for the past 5 years at a Secret Prison in Bagram

We do know that shortly after Ridley’s report in June 2008 Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the ICRC began demanding the U.S. for access to prisoner 650.

We do know that the following month in July 2008, 5 years after her initial disappearance, Aafia Siddiqui was seen on TV at a press conference in Ghazni Afghanistan with only her oldest son, in which it was reported that she was found with a terrorist’s handbag.

We do know that the handbag she was found with contained fantastically incriminating evidence including plans for “mass casualty” attacks and “how to make a dirty bomb”, along with pictures of New York Landmarks.

We do know that the next day she was shot in the abdomen by U.S. Soldiers.

We do know that when she disappeared she was a slightly heavy woman.

We do know that when she was shown in the press conference she was substantially thinner than when she disappeared.

We do know that in her arrest photograph taken by the Afghan National Police she looked beaten. Her nose was altered and her teeth were missing.

We do not know why she was considered a “person of interest” by the FBI; why she was labeled a “wanted terrorist”; or why she was alleged to be a “Al Qaeda facilitator”, by the FBI

We do know that the U.S. Government did not prosecute her with attempting to commit acts of terrorism or any connections to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

We do know that the U.S. government has chosen to keep crucial information about her case classified.

We do not know where the two younger missing children are.

We do know that during the trial all the New York newspapers had nearly daily headlines labeling Siddiqui a member of Al-Qaeda.

We do know that FBI officials and ISI officials had been meeting with reporters privately to allege that she was an a member of Al-Qaeda but they could charge her without “compromising their sources”.

We do know that this jury was not sequestered.

We do know that airport style security was ordered outside the courtroom because of possible threats from the gallery.

We do know that this was unprecedented in judicial proceedings

This is a work in progress. I will be updating.

About author

Pramilla Malick

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There are 22 comments

  • Anonymous says:

    “We do know, however, that in mid-June 2001 Aafia Siddiqui was with her husband and kids in Boston running a play group.”

    Do we know this? This is what Elaine Sharp, her attorney claims, but when it was suggested that her credit card records could be subpoenaed, Fowzia and Ismaat objected. No member of the play group has corroborated. Is there corroboration? Attorney Sharp says she can prove it. Okay, what is the proof? A corroborating witness from the play group would suffice.

    Her defense report says Aafia says she was tasked by “Abu Lubaba” to study germ weapons. Who is that? When was the fatwa?

  • Ibrahim Sajid Malick says:

    If you know please source your information, we are as anxious for the truth as you are.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much, by the way, for taking the approach of trying to figure out the facts.

    There is just no reason for there to be such discrepant facts — which only fuel the divergent views. On the “Abu Lubaba” issue, I have privately emailed you a copy of the defense psychiatrist report which is underlies the question. I think I know the answer and the year but it needs corroboration by a copy of the actual fatwa, I should think.

    On the June 2001 issue, which is important — and was raised in debunking claims she travelled to meet with Atef in June 2001, that evidence would be in the hands of Attorney Sharp, who made a point of saying “And I can prove it.” So the ball is in her court on that. Contemporaneous documentary evidence of course is the best. I appreciate the care I see in the statement of facts presented by S.H. Faruqi in his account of a January 2008, which I now see you taking in your methodical statement of what we think we know. I commend all attempts – whatever one’s point of view — in establishing the facts through verifiable information (and not merely the claim of someone with a vested interest).

    Yvonne Ridley’s comment at one point that Aafia’s uncle would not have known he was speaking with Aafia of course is mistaken. We now are advised Aafia stayed for a couple days while her mother flew to visit. Both Yvonne and S.H. Faruqi have recent essays and interview statements that could be studied and compared for their differences — I am not fully up-to-date.

    But again, I commend you on your efforts to develop the facts and verify them.

  • Ibrahim Sajid Malick says:

    I didn’t put the uncle’s statements because I deliberately left out individual allegations and statements that could not be proven, except ridley’s only because of it’s relevance in the time line, in other words her allegations as an event in itself.

    I will add all the allegations by various interested parties later. Again this really is a mystery and the trial didn’t shed much more light on it.

  • Bob says:

    You forgot to mention that we do know her uncle and ex-husband both claim to have seen her in Pakistan during the time she was “missing”

    We also know that the her son could shed valuable insight as to his whereabouts and that Aafia’s sister is keeping him away from the press.

  • Bob says:

    Regarding the alleged 2003 Karachi arrest:

    In 2003 the US government alerts the world press that that Aafia Siddiqui is wanted for questioning. Around the same time, she packs her kids in a taxi and takes off. No one witnesses any arrest and no one reports her missing. Soon a report comes out in a Chicago based NBC affiliate (NBC5). The report sources the PTA (Press Trust India) website as reporting that Aafia has been arrested. The PTA later delete the story. NBC5 does not need to make any corrections because they made it clear they were merely quoting another source.
    So here we have 2 possible scenarios:

    Scenario 1.
    An Indian news website got the scoop on what was happening on the Karachi streets when none of the Pakistani press or citizens were aware of what was going on in their own city. They were somehow able to get the news that no one else could. Pakistanis had to find out from NBC Chicago who quoted the Indian website. Despite this impressive journalistic achievement the Indian Press website decided to delete the story.

    Scenario 2
    There was a mistake in the information chain and somehow the Indian website mistakingly reported she was arrested when they should have reported she was wanted just like all the other media outlets were reporting. They omitted their mistake but not before they were quoted by NBC Chicago. Later, Pakistani papers started quoting NBC5 as if NBC5 had inside knowledge of an arrest. The Siddiqui family and people like Yvonne Ridley took this as a founding pillar for their great conspiracy.

    Which is more plausible?

  • ondelette says:

    We do know why she was a person of interest in 2003. Supposedly, she opened a Post Office box in Baltimore MD, her family says to look for a job, since she had interviews at Johns Hopkins and somewhere else (I can’t remember the other place) in December/January 2002. The government says she did this to provide the key to Majid Khan, as part of the support for him to come to the U.S. to mastermind the destruction of the nation’s energy infrastructure (he was supposed to be an expert on this because he ran the cash register at his father’s gas station in Baltimore). Meanwhile he was stuck in Pakistan where his family says he went to get married, because he forgot to take his asylum papers with him and copies need to be requested from within the U.S. So he went to a party to get help with that, and enlisted the help of Uzair Paracha and his father who was to pose as Majid Khan in the U.S. to call up and get the papers then send them to Khan.

    The government claims that there was more going on (the gas station blow up plot and some money facilitating). Khalid Sheik Mohammad was at the party and possibly some other al Qaeda. Fast forward to Mohammad being tortured, and he gave up those names, he later said he mentioned Aafia Siddiqui because she was from a prominent family and remembered her name. The government convicted Uzair Paracha of falsifying ID and tacked on the “terrorist” extra and he is doing 20 years in maximum security. Supposedly Aafia’s P.O.Box key was in his possession when arrested. Uzair’s father Saifullah Paracha is in Guantanamo where his health is not good. Majid Khan was at a black site until 2006, he tried to commit suicide in Guantanamo 3 times by biting his radial artery at the elbow, from too much torture and solitary confinement and was ruled unfit to stand trial by the military commissions.

    Nobody is still asserting that the plot had any merit whatsoever, but all the people supposedly involved (and named by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad during waterboarding) have been brutally treated, including Aafia Siddiqui and her children.

  • ondelette says:

    I saw the note about sourcing after I posted, but the above is from Andy Worthington, from the transcripts to Uzair Paracha’s trial and appeal, and from the transcripts to Majid Khan’s CSRT (which is clickable at the bottom of the page on Wikipedia about him). There may also have been sourcing from HRW and others. I’ve got some postings on Aafia Siddiqui on Humanity Against Crimes and on Seminal at FireDogLake more recently, I save almost everything, with some gaps because I had a disk crash.

  • Anonymous says:

    From “Questions Still Swirl” article in the past day or so:

    This popular account of Siddiqui’s fate is supported by her mother and sister and has shaped perceptions in the Pakistani media. But [Declan]Walsh says that her former husband, Amjad Khan, whom she divorced in 2002, tells a different story.

    Khan told Walsh that being concerned for his children, he watched Siddiqui discreetly from a distance and that she was in Pakistan between 2003 and 2008. Walsh adds that her uncle, Shams ul-Hassan Farhuqi, also revealed a bizarre episode when Siddiqui turned up at his house in Islamabad in January 2008 and asked him to send her to the Taliban in Afghanistan because she was “very uncomfortable” about being in the control of an intelligence agency in Pakistan. The uncle claimed Siddiqui told him that the Taliban were “the only people with whom she would feel safe.”

    Walsh says that the issue has turned into a political case and people on all sides are “looking less at the facts of the case and more at what Aafia Siddiqui represents for them.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Here is her graduate school transcript:

    http://cryptome.org/siddiqui/siddiqui-all-as.jpg

  • Anonymous says:

    A March 2004 account of her uncle, S.H. Faruqi, is here:

    http://www.dawn.com/2004/03/30/letted.htm#5

    Excerpt:

    Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s disappearance

    5) On April 1, 2003, a small news item was published in an Urdu daily with reference to a press conference of Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat when, in reply to a question regarding the arrest of Dr Siddiqui, he said: “She has not been arrested.”

    6) There was another news item in an Urdu daily on April 2 regarding another press conference when the interior minister said Dr Siddiqui was connected to Al Qaeda and that she had not been arrested as she was absconding. He added: “You will be astonished to know about the activities of Dr Aafia (Siddiqui).”

    7) A motorcyclist in plainclothes knocked at the door of the mother of Dr Siddiqui (Mrs Ismat Siddiqui) and told her: “We know that you are connected to higher-ups. But it would be better for you if you keep quiet regarding your daughter. She and her children are OK with us.”

    8) The June 23, 2003, issue of Newsweek International has been exclusively devoted to the so-called Al Qaeda. The core of the issue is an article “Al Qaeda’s Network in America”. The article has three photographs of so-called Al Qaeda members – Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Ali S. Al Marri of Qatar who has studied in the US like Dr Siddiqui and had long gone back to his homeland. In this article, which has been authored by eight journalists who had access to FBI records, the only charge levelled against Dr Aafia Siddiqui is that “she rented a post-office box to help a former resident of Baltimore named Majid Khan (alleged Al Qaeda suspect) to help establish his US identity. She was also ‘supposed’ to support other Al Qaeda operatives as they entered the United States.”

    9) The article states that Dr Siddiqui was arrested in Pakistan contrary to the repeated statements of our interior minister.
    ***

    S. H. FARUQI

    Islamabad

  • ondelette says:

    They are running an investigation on the abduction now in Pakistan, on orders from the court and from a Pakistani Senate standing committee, which may bring charges against Pervez Musharraf and his then IG (head of police). The son, Ahmed, took the investigating officer to the scene of the abduction and described it. Ordinarily, that would just add a voice to the he-said-she-said between the family and the ex-husband/uncle/USGovt. But Ahmed was also deposed by SP Niaz Khuso, who reported that the son speaks Dari. Do you become fluent in Dari hiding in the suburbs of Karachi, or in Afghanistan?
    (source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/print.asp?page=20101\19\story_19-1-2010_pg7_45 )

  • Rob says:

    The pakistan oiforeig nmisnster Mr.Shah Mahmood stated in lvie programme on a paksitnai channel ,in repsone to a comemnt made by a form memebr of musharag govenement.
    It is ea yf or yo ut ledture us but it was yoru governemnt whe ni n2003 she wa handed over tot he americans,so do nt oforget thsi fact.
    When the foreig nmisnste of paksitan has cinfe she was handed over to the americans ,then ebvrtyhti nelse is what americna are godo atr lkyig nand eceing.
    whe naffai wsa foud nguilt yagsint overwhelmig nevidence toi eh contrary, even the KANGAROOS

  • http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/2009-07-01-Siddiqui-psych-report.pdf
    Bottom paragraph page 4
    What is reported is that Dr. Siddiqui became involved with a man named Abu Lubaba, who courted her using her concern for the protection of Pakistan against aggressive nations. Late she came to believe he was a “bad man” Abu Lubaba during this period issued a fatwa on Dr. Siddiqui to study germ and chemical warfare.

    Could it be the same Abu Lubaba who authored this book?
    http://sites.google.com/site/dajjalantichrist/

    Has he been questioned?

  • 2nd paragraph page 4
    Following an argument with her mother who she and the children were living with, an agreement was reached that they would go to Islamabad to live with her uncle. She reportedly left in a cab, phoned her mother from the train station, agreeing to call again when she reached Islamabad. She apparently never made it to her uncle’s residence.
    http://intelfiles.egoplex.com/2009-07-01-Siddiqui-psych-report.pdf

    All other reports I have read state that she was on the way to the airport. I have also read that the son claims they were picked up while coming out of their house. This alleged phone call from the train station flies in the face of that. Is it more logical that she would take a train to Islamabad from Karachi instead of flying?

  • […] and Pramilla Srivastava has tried to summarise what is actually known and not known about Siddiqui here.  More information can be found via Justice for Aafia […]

  • […] and Pramilla Srivastava has tried to summarise what is actually known and not known about Siddiqui here.  More information can be found via Justice for Aafia Coalition. Possibly related posts: […]

  • Preshan Gul says:

    Don’t try to be philosophical just keep this basic fact in mind that our sister is imrisoned in the land of Satan.
    http://greaterpk.blogspot.com/2010/05/blog-post_17.html

  • jawed says:

    I am feeling ashamed to be a Pakistani as daughter of my homeland was sold to American Dogs without any investigation and proof of having links with so called Alqaeda(May be an American CIA organization). Mr Mushraf if you please think if God forbid this all happens to your own daughter what u will do. Mr Mushraf I could not imagine how u can sleep with such nightmares. I am full of tears in my eyes when I am feeling the agony which Dr. Afiya has gone through. May Allah accepts her sacrifices and may Allah give an end to her worries.

  • Malik Rashid says:

    A listing of facts scattered in various publications could help paint a picture closer to reality. Th rhetoric used in court by Ms. Siddiqui and other al-qaeda detainees could provide some clue. A great effort at solving a mystery. Kudos.

  • Pramilla says:

    malick rashid did you mean “rhetoric used in court about Ms. Siddiqi”, not “by”? Because from my research I have not yet seen any evidence that she was an “al qaeda” operative.

  • topnotcher says:

    Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui unveiling the whole truth about Aafia Siddiqui’s disappearance from Karachi to 86 years sentence in US court. She told about the early life of Aafia Siddiqui and other facts that were public for the first time ever in the program organized by Darsequran.com on 10th Oct 2010.

    http://www.islamic-waves.com/2010/10/exclusive-aafia-siddiqui-all-about.html

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