Aafia Siddiqui was born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1972 and went to the United States to study. She married a medical student, Amjad Khan and had two children, Ahmed, and Maryam. The family returned to Pakistan in 2002, when she was pregnant with her third child, Suleman, and when her husband was being harassed by the FBI. The couple separated shortly afterwards.
In late March 2003 Aafia and the three children left her home in Karachi to board a flight to Rawalpindi but did not arrive at the airport. They had been abducted by members of the ISI (Pakistan’s Secret Services). For the next five years she was held in secret places of detention, including Bagram, where she was seen by former Guantanamo prisoners, including Binyam Mohamed, a UK resident. She was severely tortured, raped and forcibly injected, forced to sign false confessions, told her children would suffer if she did not co-operate. Her disappearance and allegations she was being held in Bagram were denied by the US, until 2008 when the administration reported she and her son had been arrested in Afghanistan. She was accused of assault and attempted murder of US army personnel.
Aafia Siddiqui was extradited to the US in August 2008 and held under harsh conditions until the start of her trial in January 2010. Within a month of her extradition, her son was released from a detention centre in Afghanistan. Her trial left much to be desired – there was no forensic evidence to support the prosecution’s case – she was not allowed to choose her own attorney ; the judge did not accept she was unfit to stand trial, despite the assessment of psychiatrists for both the defence and prosecution. The judge also did not allow any discussion of her and her children’s disappearance and secret detention. At the same time the prosecution was allowed to introduce statements that Aafia Siddiqui had made to the FBI while detained in hospital at Bagram and while she was suffering from sleep deprivation.
Her trial was completed in February and she was found guilty on all counts. She will be sentenced, on 21st July and faces a maximum of life in prison. She is held in the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York.
Letters for Aafia Siddiqui can be emailed to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Information received from “Justice for Aafia Coalition”