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Sunday, September 26, 2010

US court sentences Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years of prison


Pakistan has condemned a US court's sentencing of Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison, vowing to bring the neuroscientist back home.

“We are disappointed and saddened by the sentence but the government has not given up,” a Press TV correspondent quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit as saying on Friday. 

US Judge Richard Berman read out the sentence at the federal court in New York on Thursday. Dr. Siddiqui was found guilty of opening fire on FBI agents and US military personnel in a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she was being interrogated in 2008. 

“We are continuing efforts to get Aafia Siddiqui repatriated to Pakistan,” Abdul Basit added. 

The remarks came shortly after Siddiqui's family vowed to launch a “movement” to secure her release. 

"This is not her defeat, this is her victory. It is the defeat of those who have convicted her, because they did not have the courage to own up to their mistake," Aafia's sister, Dr. Fouzia Siddiqui told Press TV. 

Aafia's 86-year-incarceration sentence has provoked outrage in Pakistan along with other areas of the Muslim world, where anti-US sentiments are already on the rise. 

Hundreds of people protested the verdict in several parts of Pakistan, chanting anti-American slogans and demanding the return of the Pakistani scientist. 

"Down with America," shouted the angry protesters. 

The 38-year-old mother of three vanished in Karachi, Pakistan with her three children on March 30, 2003. The following day, local newspapers reported that she had been abducted by US forces on terrorism charges. 

Human rights groups say that Siddiqui had secretly been transferred to the US base in Bagram, north of Kabul, and tortured for five years prior to the alleged 2008 incident. 

She was taken to the US and was convicted in a New York court on February 3. 

HJ/JG/MMN

Source: Press TV

Protesters in Islamabad have asked the Pakistani government to do more to help Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently in prison in the United States.


During the demonstrations which were held on Wednesday, rights activists, students, and political party leaders urged the government to take all possible measures to secure the release of Aafia, who is in US custody for her alleged contacts with the al-Qaeda, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Addressing the rally, Siddiqui's sister, Fauzia asked for the immediate release and return of Aafia, calling it "a question of honor for Pakistan."

She strongly criticized Pakistani officials over their failure to return Aafia to the country.

Siddiqui was charged with shooting FBI agents and US military personnel in a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she was interrogated in 2008. She was convicted in a New York court on February 3, 2010.

Siddiqui vehemently denied all charges during the trial, calling them 'ridiculous' and insisting that she was framed, jailed, and tortured by US agents in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

RZS/RE

Source: Press TV

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