Protests Gather Steam For The Release Of MIT-educated Neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui

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By Nadia B. Ahmad

On October 8, protesters in Karachi introduced visitors to a standstill in components of District South in marching from the Karachi Press Club to the U.S. Consulate.  Political leaders and social activists addressed a rising crowd, together with Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s sister Fauzia Siddiqui, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Saeed Afridi, Pasban chief Altaf Shakoor, retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad, Jamaat-e-Islami former MPA Younas Barai, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Organisation Restoration Committee chief Dr. Farooq Sattar, the Pak Sarzameen Party’s Shamshad Siddiqui and the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Faz’s Aslam Ghouri.

The Karachi mobilization follows profitable protests in Texas at Pakistan’s Houston Consulate and the Forth Worth jail. In October 2021, mobilizations in assist of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui hit the highway once more with New York City on October 20, Boston on October 23, and Washington, D.C. on October 27. 

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The Dallas mobilization resulted in her launch from solitary confinement. Since August 2021, such mobilizations have picked up steam demanding the discharge of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who maintains she is harmless of prices that she tried to kill U.S. navy officers whereas in custody in Afghanistan. In 2010, Siddiqui was convicted in federal court docket in New York and is now serving her 86 12 months sentence at FMC Carswell in Texas.

Over 200 protestors gathered on the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, in September 2021 following one other energetic rally on the Pakistan Consulate in Houston. 

Imam Omar Suleiman addresses the group of protestors in FMC Carswell.

The controversy, which has dragged on for nearly 20 years, casts the lengthy shadow of the worldwide warfare on terror over Muslims at residence and overseas. Caught within the underworld of navy intelligence between the United States and Pakistan, Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians have been subjected to torture and imprisonment with out dues course of based mostly on secret proof. 

The Dallas protest was a part of a five-city mobilization to boost consciousness of the plight of Dr. Sidddiqui and others wrongfully incarcerated stemming from the War on Terror. 

Writer and activist Mauri’ Saalakhan, who serves because the President of Aafia Foundation, turned concerned in Dr. Aafia’s case in 2009, which was one 12 months after she was introduced again to the United States, clinging to life. 

“If an injustice of this nature could be committed against someone like Aafia without challenge, none of us are safe,” Saalakhan stated. 

The sequence of occasions that led to the disappearance, seize, and sentencing of MIT-trained Dr. Siddiqui, draw consideration to the fumbling efforts of American and Pakistani counterintelligence to focus on Muslims who oppose U.S. imperial ambitions and assist jihadist causes. Dr. Siddiqui was swept up within the vast terrorist dragnet within the aftermath of 9/11’s U.S. War on Terror. Rumors have swirled that Dr. Siddiqui was turned over to the United States for a hefty bounty. Government businesses, together with the CIA, have refused to correctly reply to requests beneath the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), in line with these accustomed to the case.

Bounties have been provided previously. Other navy detainees testified in navy tribunals that they had been bought to the U.S. navy for bounties starting from $5,000 to $35,000. The Associated Press obtained the navy tribunal transcripts via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.  

Aafia was not sentenced in connection to any terrorist-related offenses. Instead, she was convicted of an incident that allegedly occurred throughout her seize in Afghanistan. Eyewitness testimony and ballistic proof had been inconclusive in her case. Because of her disturbed psychological state, she was not capable of help correctly in her authentic trial.

Now Aafia’s supporters demand both compassionate launch by the U.S. authorities or repatriation again to Pakistan, however the authorities in Islamabad, which is mired in financial strife, has didn’t prioritize the case to take motion via diplomatic channels. Yet as extra Americans are recognizing the horrors of CIA secret websites and U.S. navy prisons abroad, particularly across the twenty-year anniversary of America’s War on Terror, momentum for the discharge and repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui are selecting up steam. A brand new era of American activists is organizing and demanding or her launch regardless of the bureaucratic wrangling of diplomatic officers within the U.S. and the dearth of concern by American officers. 

Dr. Ashraf Abbasi, who attended the Dallas mobilization stated, “I felt overwhelmed and grateful to see that it was not just me, but hundreds of other conscientious, peace and justice lovers at the protest gave more strength to my stance and conviction.”

“Dr. Aafia’s case is well documented and internationally known as the worse miscarriage of justice in the U.S. judicial system,” he added.

Former U.S, Attorney General Ramsey Clark’ as soon as described Dr. Siddiqui’s case as “the worst case of individual injustice” he had ever seen.

In 2003, stories point out that Dr. Siddiqui was kidnapped by Pakistani police as she was on her approach to the airport in Karachi to go to her uncle in Islamabad. Evidence suggests she was handed over to the U.S. navy. Rumors have swirled that she was provided to the Americans in alternate for a bounty. Yet all of those claims stay formally unsubstantiated with out admissions from the U.S. navy and intelligence companies. 

Researcher Caron Gentry wrote about this mysterious case, offering background details, however noting gaps stay as to her precise whereabouts for 5 years whether or not she was in U.S. navy custody or on the run with three kids for 5 years.  Dr. Siddiqui got here to the United States in 1990 and earned a Bachelor of Science diploma from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Ph.D. from Brandeis. In 2003, she left together with her household for Pakistan beneath suspicious circumstances. Eventually, John Ashcroft named her as a wished lady for her suspected involvement with al Qaeda. Much of the narratives that encompass Dr. Siddiqui’s involvement in al Qaeda, created by the US authorities, media, her household, and her supporters, are based mostly on the intersection of gender and neoOrientalism. These narratives located her as an harmless Soccer Mom, the nefarious Lady al Qaeda, or the mentally confused Grey Lady of Bagram. 

Investigative reporting and eyewitness testimony of different prisoners in secret U.S. navy prisons suggests she was held in a secret navy jail through the time of her disappearance. 

Activist Faiz Ahmed has been following the case for quite a few years and watching the broadcasts that Mauri Saalakhan posts concerning the case on Facebook. He stated he seen a shift within the public paradigm, not solely across the case however the way in which that the American public responds to Muslim considerations. 

“There is a new generation of Muslims who suffered under the War on Terror and are less servile. There is also a new generation of Americans who have seen law enforcement agencies doing horrific things to powerless people, just because they can get away with it.” Ahmed added. 

Protests are deliberate in New York, Boston, and Washington D.C.

A brand new surge of activism takes root at FMC Carswell calling for the discharge of Aafia Siddiqui.

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