ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Former US Attorney General William Ramsey Clark has said that the imprisonment of Dr. Aafia Suddiqui was a tragedy, and she did not get justice from American courts. He stated that the Pakistan government should immediately play its role for her release.
Talking to media on arrival at Islamabad airport on Tuesday, Gen. Clarke said that Aafia Siddiqui’s trial was not correct. Aafia is a mother and a daughter, and justice demands that Aafia Siddiqui should immediately be released, he said, adding that Pakistan should raise this issue. He suggested that the US should tell where the son of Aafia is.
Earlier, activists who created a movement for Aafia Siddiqui’s release, warmly welcomed Gen. Clark upon his arrival at the airport. Federal Minister Farooq Sattar was present at the airport and said it was in the air that if the government of Pakistan could write a letter, then the US would consider freeing Dr. Aafia. During his visit, he will have a meeting with top human rights leaders of the country.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist. Dr. Siddiqui left the United States for Pakistan in 2002. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed of Al-Qaeeda was arrested in March 2003 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and tipped her name as collaborator. After she was named by him, Siddiqui disappeared for 5 years.
Siddiqui and her children’s whereabouts and activities from March 2003 to July 2008 are a matter of dispute. Her family claimed that she was picked up by American and Pakistan intelligence agencies at Rawalpindi Railway Station when she was coming from Karachi, while some circles claimed she was picked by ISI from Karachi while going to the railway station.
She reappeared in Afghanistan under detention in 2008, and although authorities claimed she was found in possession of bomb-making instructions and materiel (including sodium cyanide) at the time of her arrest in Afghanistan, Dr. Siddiqui was not charged for any terrorist-related activities. Instead she was tried and convicted in US federal court for assault with intent to murder her US interrogators in Afghanistan – charges that carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Siddiqui was ultimately sentenced by a United States district court to 86 years in prison in a trial that critics have called “a grave miscarriage of justice.”
Sources in intelligence circles believe that Dr. Aafia was a victim of her trust with one of her Arab friends with whom she was involved emotionally, and she transferred a huge amount of currency to Pakistan from USA, which she handed over to him, and he was linked with the Al-Qaeda network.