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(September 22, 2010)

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: (202) 246-9608


Sentencing for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and Press Conference to follow

Manhattan, NY –– A mobilization for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui will convene Thursday, September 23, at 8:00 AM, outside the federal court located at 500 Pearl Street, in lower Manhattan. At 9:00 supporters will enter Judge Berman’s Court, Room 21D, for Dr. Siddiqui’s sentencing.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani national who was kidnapped from the streets of Pakistan, with her three young children (all victims of rendition), in March 2003. Aafia spent the next five years (2003-2008) as a secretly held prisoner at one or more U.S. controlled detention centers overseas. In July 2008 Dr. Siddiqui mysteriously reappeared on the streets of Ghazni, Afghanistan, in a weakened and disheveled state, only to be re-arrested, gravely injured by gunfire, and subsequently brought to the United States to stand trial for allegedly attempting to “murder U.S. personnel” in Afghanistan.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was convicted earlier this year, and faces the possibility of 30 years to life when she is sentenced on Thursday, September 23. Both supporters and objective, non-partisan observers are convinced that she is innocent of all charges.

Schedule for Thursday, September 23:

8:00 a.m.: Assemble outside the court house, 500 Pearl Street, Manhattan, NYC

9:00 a.m.: Enter the court house for Dr. Siddiqui’s sentencing

Immediately following the sentencing: Press Conference and Rally in Foley Square

Additional background

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, 38, came to the United States from Pakistan as an 18 year old student. She is a brilliant social scientist (and committed Muslim), with degrees from MIT and Brandeis University. Two of her three children are U.S. born citizens.

In March 2003, while on a visit to her family’s home in Karachi, Pakistan, she and her three young children set off for a visit with a maternal uncle in Islamabad. They never made it. While enroute to the airport the taxi they were riding in was stopped by agents unknown, they were forceably removed and then made to disappear.

It is believed that Aafia and her children were arrested by Pakistani agents (accompanied by one or more American agents), and later turned over to the U.S government to become secretly held prisoners overseas (from 2003 to 2008). Witness testimony and strong circumstantial evidence suggests that Aafia was subjected to both physical and psychological torture during this period. Reportedly, her cries of agony - while she was held at the Bagram base in Afghanistan - were so haunting that prisoners went on a hunger strike in protest.

In July 2008, Aafia was mysteriously released (in a weakened and disheveled state) onto the streets of Afghanistan, and then re-arrested as a suspicious person who might be a suicide bomber. While awaiting interrogation at a police compound Aafia was shot, and after emergency treatment she was transported half dead to the U.S. to stand trial.

Despite the U.S. government’s earlier suspicions/allegations of her being an alleged “facilitator for al-Qaeda,” she eventually was charged with attempting to murder U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. (There was not one terrorism charge in the indictment!)

Despite the material evidence in Aafia’s favor, and despite the inconsistent testimony of government witnesses, the jury found Dr. Aafia Siddiqui guilty on all counts. (It should also be noted that the court barred any testimony on Aafia’s whereabouts and/or treatment during her missing years, 2003-2008!)

Aafia’s oldest son was returned to his family in 2008; the daughter was left on the doorstep of the family a few months ago (2010); the youngest child, Suleman, is still missing to this day.

Another point of significant import to the supporters of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is the following: While the media has devoted a huge amount of attention to the plight of three imprisoned American hikers in Iran, and the recent release of one, Sarah Schord, 31 – who by all accounts was treated well during her imprisonment in demonized Iran – the plight of a Muslim woman who has suffered years of torture at the hands of American authorities has received no sympathetic (nor even investigative coverage) in America at all!

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