Aafia Siddiqui - Prisoner 650 (THE REAL STORY)
...Another victim of State Terror!
One day in late-March, 2003 a young mother with three small children in tow, is on her way to the airport to visit with family in another city. None of the four arrive to check in for the flight and her worried family launches a frantic search. All attempts to locate her whereabouts are unsuccessful and she only resurfaces five years later in strange circumstances. Following a televised press conference in July 2008 involving a British journalist and widely covered across the globe, within three weeks of the worldwide press-storm her brother who lives in Texas is visited by an FBI agent who informs him that his sister is being detained in Afghanistan, after being shot in the abdomen by a military officer.
Shortly before her detention had been revealed to the public, the Associated Press published an interview with the Afghan police chief where he claimed that soon after the woman and her 12-year old son were taken into custody, American soldiers arrived and demanded that she be handed over. When the Afghan police argued with the soldiers over giving up custody, an escalation ensued during which shots were fired and the woman was struck in the crossfire. After pressure was exerted from external sources, however, the police chief later changed his story to then say that there had been no such argument and that the woman had instead lunged at one of the soldiers, provoking the gunshot.
A week after her family was at long last notified of her whereabouts, the Daily Times newspaper in Pakistan referred to the existence of documents confirming that Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) had in fact detained Aafia Siddiqui and her children on March 30, 2003 - and handed them over to the FBI. It was not until March, 2010 (after the departure from office of the US-supported Pervez Musharraf) that a senior security official from Pakistan then confirmed that an internal investigation into the Pakistani government had revealed that Pakistan was indeed involved with her detention in 2003. Before this both countries had steadfastly denied that either had any knowledge of her whereabouts.
After repeated denials that she was ever in their custody or that there were any female prisoners in Bagram, two witnesses emerged who had been released without charges after being detained around the same time. In separate interviews they recounted a harrowing experience of hearing the blood-curdling screams of a woman being tortured over a prolonged period. The prisoners were so haunted by the helpless cries of this tormented woman that most embarked on a hunger strike in protest. This led to the US military finally admitting that it had an unnamed female prisoner at the Bagram facility.
Following repatriation to the United States to undergo emergency surgery for her gunshot wounds, she is found unfit to stand trial due to her state of mind. Her physical condition is described as deplorable - pictures of her show a beat-up, frail and helpless woman, the effects of years of torture, abuse, and continuous rape. There are dark circles under her eyes, a badly repaired broken nose, "made up" teeth and crumbled lips, and overall "a picture of a severely dehydrated, sick person almost as if on the death bed. It shows the inhumane brutality of an apparently civilised nation by the administration of a country which claims to be much civilised."
In what can only be described as a farce of a trial, the defendant was inhibited from either coming to court or having proper access to her lawyers due to the strip searches she was forced to endure each and every time. She was denied the opportunity to bring up any evidence about her 5-year detention and abusive treatment, which would also have allowed questions to be put before the jury about how she managed to be released from custody, ending up with likely planted materials as a foreigner in Afghanistan, set up to be arrested by the local police as a terror suspect. The State's entire case was built on testimony that a 90-pound, frail woman, weakened from months of unrelenting torture was somehow able to escape her bonds, pick up a heavy rifle, and fire off a few rounds at her captors. This, despite the lack of any physical evidence whatsoever in support of that claim including no fingerprints on the rifle, no gunpowder residue found on the body of the accused and no ballistics evidence that the rifle had even been fired. The jury instead chose to disregard everything other than the conflicting testimony of her captors. The final nail in her coffin was administered by the judge who handed down an 86-year sentence for a 'crime' where the only victim was the wounded accused.
Amongst the numerous, ongoing lies and false denials by her abductors, there are many aspects of this case that simply do not add up. Here are a few of the key discrepancies: How did this terror suspect manage to find herself free from a high-security detention facility a mere 10 days after a widely-covered press conference raising awkward questions about her disappearance and spurring global interest in locating her whereabouts? Not only free, but now accompanied by her young son and conveniently found with terror-related materials? Then, back in captivity, how does she manage to again break free of her bonds and try to shoot her captors? As a terror suspect, why was this 'dangerous' person not sent to Guantanamo Bay, instead becoming the first and only terror detainee to be sent to the US mainland? Given all the evidence gathered and her many years of 'enhanced interrogation', why was she never charged or tried for terrorism, instead of a civilian offense? What has become of her other two children and how did she manage to be briefly reunited with her son?
One thing has become crystal clear in this sordid and shameful matter. A grave series of injustices has been (and continues to be) perpetrated against what is very likely a person innocent of any major crime. Given the ongoing history of lies and abuse emanating from the authorities on all sides, any rational person must seek answers outside of the official storyline that is, quite simply, unbelievable. So, let's continue with our approach of asking questions which, if honestly answered, would lead to something a bit closer to the truth. Did the US administration find itself faced with another 'Abu Ghraib'-type torture scandal on its hands in its dying days during the height of election season? Though the incumbent was not up for reelection, faced with such an ill-timed scandal which would certainly have hurt the party's candidate, and with a Congress now controlled by their opposition (while both Houses had been under GOP control in the previous scandal), were they concerned not only with election fallout and indeed the legacy of the then leader, but with the very real possibility that the subpoena power of Congress could be used against key officials in the administration? As a result of these concerns, did they decide to use the opportunity afforded by the shooting of a released and then recaptured terror suspect during an escalating argument with the locals who initially refused to hand over the prisoner, as stated in the original report of the police chief? After more than five years of confinement and 'enhanced interrogation' (torture, beatings and rape) with nothing to show for it, did they conspire in a desperate attempt to cover up what would surely emerge as not only an international embarrassment for the country, but a crime to be followed by certain prosecution? If not, why was this 'dangerous' terror suspect never charged with any acts of terrorism? And, why was a more-than-likely case of the accidental shooting of a detainee converted into a criminal trial, despite the complete absence of any physical evidence corroborating the testimony of her abusive captors? Finally, why is a known anti-Muslim judge selected to preside over the show-trial, going on to exclude essential evidence, instruct the jury, and then announce a draconian sentence?
Honest answers to these and other follow-up questions are the only way the truth is likely to emerge. Don't hold your breath waiting, though. Some powerful people in very high places have conspired to ensure that this petite Pakistani woman will never be able to recount her ordeal to the world, just as surely as if they had had her custom-fitted with a muzzle! Neither will any US administration (current or future) pursue justice for this unfortunate victim, even if they are presented with incontrovertible evidence of her innocence, as they are all too aware of the international hue and cry and tarnished image which must surely follow any such revelation. The only way that the true underlying facts of this disgraceful incident may ever come to the surface is through the pricked conscience of a brave whistle-blower who has witnessed key events and is ready to risk life and limb in coming forward to international agencies and exposing the many lies surrounding this ongoing travesty.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, prisoner 650 at Bagram Detention Center, is now incarcerated at a prison facility in Carswell Texas (nicknamed CarsHell due to widespread abuse and unexplained deaths of inmates). Odds are that she will perish well before the end of her sentence and not due to old age or sickness. She has never been told of the whereabouts of her remaining two children, though her daughter mysteriously turned up on the family's doorstep earlier this year, and the youngest (who was just 6 months old at the time) is believed to have died in the immediate aftermath of her brutal abduction.
More info on this travesty of justice can be found here:
Cageprisoners : Aafia Siddiqui
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