Justice for Dr. Aafia Siddique

Who is she?

Aafia Siddiqui moved from Karachi, Pakistan, to the USA in 1990. Excelling in her studies, she earned a scholarship to MIT after starting at the University of Houston. She graduated with honors from MIT and later earned a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from Brandeis University. Alongside her academic achievements, Siddiqui was known for her dedication to spreading Islam's message and her humanitarian efforts, notably during the Bosnian political crisis in the 1990s 

What happened to her?

In 2002, after 12 fruitful years in the United States, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her family decided to return home to Pakistan. By this time she was married with two American-born children (Ahmed and Maryam) and pregnant with a third child (Suleman). Tragically, it appears that her academic achievement, activism, and commitment to Islam, caused a post 9/11 cloud of suspicion to accompany her and her family on that fateful journey home.

In March 2003, Dr. Siddiqui and her three young children (ages 6, 4, and six months) got into a taxi in Karachi, Pakistan, bound for the airport to visit a maternal uncle in Islamabad. They never made it. The taxi was stopped, all four were forcibly removed and disappeared into thin air for the next five years. Aafia's family even received a threatening messaged from an ominous biker which read "If you ever want to se your daughter and grandchildren again, be quiet!" 

In the summer of 2008, following disclosure that a Pakistani woman was being secretly held prisoner at the Bagram Detention Center in Afghanistan, Dr. Siddiqui was released from captivity in a weakened and disheveled state; reunited with her son (Ahmed), and then set up to be killed. She ended up being shot by an American soldier in Afghanistan under highly questionable circumstances. Following emergency treatment she was brought back to America, barely clinging to life, and charged with attempting to murder US personnel (i.e. soldiers, FBI, CIA) in Afghanistan.

Her Unfair Treatment

During the trial that took place in a U.S. District Court in New York City in 2010, the most compelling evidence was in Dr. Siddiqui’s favor, and the government’s star witnesses contradicted themselves, and each other, so much (under oath) that they should have been charged with perjury. Regrettably, the unrelenting pre-trial propaganda against “Lady al-Qaeda,” as some of the media dubbed her, coupled with a federal judge (Richard Berman) who was openly biased against her from start to finish, made a “fair trial” virtually impossible.

The five missing years (2003-2008) were ordered off-limits during the trial; the forensic and circumstantial evidence were ignored; and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was found guilty and given a sentence of 86 YEARS.  She is currently imprisoned at FMC Carswell – an institution located on a military base in Fort Worth, Texas – completely cut off from the outside world.  It should also be noted that Judge Berman has officially closed her case to the appeals process.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui does not enjoy the same visitation rights as other prisoners; even mail that is sent to her gets returned. There are credible reports that her health (both physical and mental) is not good. Her family and supporters have asked the government to allow an independent medical team into FMC Carswell to examine her (so far without success).

What about her family?

Her two oldest children (Ahmed and Maryam) were returned to the family home in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The youngest child (Suleman) is still missing to this day and presumed dead. Aafia’s father passed away years ago, and as one would expect, an increasingly frail mother grieves over her missing child and wonders if she will ever be able to see her again.

What to do Now?

In July – August 2014, over 110,000 people from all over America – Muslims and non-Muslims – signed a “We The People” Petition on the White House website that called for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s release and repatriation. Among her supporters is the former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has described the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as, “The worst case of individual injustice I have ever witnessed.”

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has become a growing symbol of concern and grievance for Muslims and non-Muslims of goodwill around the world. Why should we care? Because if such a monstrous injustice could happen to a woman like her, and continue for as long as it has, none of us are safe!

Wanna connect to some activists in the US? Email: info@aafia.org

We aren't the only ones who speak about this. Take Attorney Clive Stafford Smith’s Letter to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons as an example:

2024_03_29 CSS to Colette Peters BOP.pdf

How do YOU want to get involved?