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Supporters Demand Justice for Aafia Siddiqui
Friday, 24 December 2010
Her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture and witch-hunt prosecution was validated by conviction—without evidence—seven and one-half years later, and sentenced to 86 years.
A full account of her case from March 2003 through December 2008 can be accessed here.
Numerous follow-up articles discussed subsequent events to the present. All are posted chronologically on sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Wrongfully persecuted, she was sentenced to 86 years in prison on September 23, 2010, a gross miscarriage of justice since her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture and witch-hunt prosecution, providing no evidence whatever to convict.
Supporters want her freed. The web site freeaafia.org posts updates on her case and status. It has petitions to sign on her behalf as well as actions to take, including writing her as follows:
It also asks those able to contribute to her legal defense and investigation into the disappearance of her son, Suleman, missing for nearly eight years.
Suburban Boston-based Elaine Whitfield Sharp represents Aafia. So does the New York-based International Justice Network (IJN), the only organization representing Bagram, Afghanistan detainees. It:
Its November 30 press release headlined, "Kidnapping Attempt on Children of Aafia Siddiqui," saying:
Since US authorities released her eldest son, Ahmed, in August 2008, he's been living with his grandmother and aunt in Karachi. Pakistani police provide round the clock protection, so it's unknown how the men gained access. They also managed to avoid capture, suggesting perhaps authorities aren't as protective as they claim.
IJN's Executive Director Tina Foster said:
An October 25 IJN (ijnetwork.org) posting quoted the ACLU saying a same day federal court ruling affirmed the Defense Department's right to withhold key information about hundreds of Bargram detainees. The court denied an ACLU FOIA lawsuit for public disclosure.
Names of 645 prisoners were released, but nothing about their citizenship, length of imprisonment, and location and circumstances of capture. The ACLU accused the Defense Department of "improperly withholding these basic facts."
ACLU's Melissa Goodman said:
The right-wing US District Court for the Southern District of New York went along, violating international and US law, including provisions of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibiting:
It's well known that Pentagon/CIA prisoners at Bagram, Guantanamo, and other American torture prisons are brutalized, at times murdered, and denied all basic rights under international law that automatically is US law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2. It states:
Report from Lahore, Pakistan
On December 22, The International News (thenews.com) headlined, "Counsel urges unity to bring to bring Aafia home," saying:
Tina Foster said Muslims get second class justice in America, and unless Pakistan pressures Washington to send Aafia home, all Pakistanis will be at risk.
Others as well everywhere, including American citizens at home or abroad. Washington's extremism is so out-of-control that US and international laws don't matter, nor do those of other countries violated with impunity on their territory.
At the Lahore Press Club, Foster said Aafia's court-appointed attorneys would appeal her sentence, challenging both her conviction and 86 year imprisonment. If all Pakistanis and political parties were united on her behalf, she said, Washington might listen.
In fact, most Muslims get no justice. They're illegally entrapped and imprisoned for crimes they never planned or committed. Yet America's media affirms guilt by accusation.
Reports vilified Aafia when she was charged with offenses never included in her indictment. Foster stressed her appalling confinement, for months in isolation in a small prison cell. She's now at FMC Carswell, a so-called medical center, known more for punishment than proper care.
A Final Comment
Kevin Cooper's case is also disturbing, an earlier article reported in more detail.
A Black American citizen, he was framed and wrongfully convicted of four June 1983 murders. Evidence proved him innocence, yet he's languished on death row ever since, and faces execution without gubernatorial clemency, pardon, or commutation of his sentence to life.
On December 23, the Los Angeles was supportive in its editorial headlined, "Governor, save inmate's life," saying:
California has 717 inmates on death row. With near certainty, many there are as innocent as Cooper. However, no one intervenes on their behalf because they're poor, Black or Latino - throwaway people out of sight and mind until lethal injections painfully kill them.
In fact, he should pardon him (and others wrongfully convicted), make full restitution for nearly three decades of injustice, and provide substantial aid to help him readjust in society, free at last and fully exonerated.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on December 24, 2010.