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A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Justice for Aafia Coalition Statement

Posted by smeddum on September 24, 2010

SENTENCING OF AAFIA SIDDIQUI

Please help Aafia Siddiqui – Scroll down this email to find out what you can do
SACC is a member of the Justice for Aafia Coalition

Justice for Aafia Coalition Statment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
23 September 2010

On the afternoon of 23rd September 2010 Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years on five charges by Judge Berman in a Manhattan courtroom.

The Justice for Aafia Coalition released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the harsh sentence passed on Dr Aafia Siddiqui by Judge Richard Berman today. At such a difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Aafia’s family, who have been separated from her since March 2003.

It has now been over seven and a half years since Dr Siddiqui was abducted with her three young children by Pakistani and American agencies. She has since been separated from her children and family, detained in a series of secret prisons and physically and psychologically abused by her captors. Following a blatantly prejudiced and unfair trial in which little conclusive evidence of her guilt was presented, she was found guilty.

We hoped that Judge Berman would have opened his eyes to the manifest injustice that has been committed against Dr Siddiqui and repatriated her to her country. But it seems that Judge Berman was adamant in his position despite the enormous level of public support for Aafia. Last week, Iran, in a goodwill gesture, released Sarah Shourd, an American woman accused of espionage, a crime against the state punishable by death. We are disappointed that the United States has been unable to exercise a similar degree of mercy and leniency in the case of another innocent woman who stands accused of crimes against its government.

While we are disappointed by Judge Berman’s decision, we condemn in the strongest terms the stance of the Pakistani government towards this beloved daughter of the nation. While we must never look to the wolf for protection, we expect the shepherd to care for his flock. The Pakistani government has from the outset been complicit in Aafia’s disappearance and detention, and has displayed nothing but contempt for its people and dignity through its cowardly stance in requesting her repatriation. They are a stain upon the honourable reputation of the country.

JFAC will continue the struggle for justice for Dr Aafia to try and secure her freedom and unite her with her family and loved ones. We remind Aafia’s supporters that this struggle may seem tiresome but as Imam Ahmad advised his student, we will only find rest when our feet set foot in paradise.”

Notes for editor:

1. The Justice for Aafia Coalition is an umbrella body for a number of organizations, groups, and activists created in February 2010 to campaign for the release and return of Aafia Siddiqui and for the opening of a full investigation into the circumstances of her detention.

2. Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyers maintain that she was abducted by the Pakistani and US agents along with her three children in 2003 and rendered to Afghanistan where she was detained by American forces for over five years. Siddiqui claims she was abused and tortured throughout her detention. She was convicted in February 2010 of allegedly firing on US soldiers while in custody in what appears to have been a grave miscarriage of justice. Her son Ahmed was released in September 2008 from Afghan custody, and her daughter Maryam was eventually recovered in April 2010. For full details of the case, please visit http://www.justiceforaafia.org

3. For media enquiries contact info@justiceforaafia.org

What You Can Do

The Justice for Aafia Coalition says:

1. The most modest estimates for an appeal in the US courts are $100,000, although Aafia’s defence could potentially run into the millions. Help us to reach our target of $200,000 by donating: http://www.justiceforaafia.org/donate-now

2. Official sources have claimed that the US will act on the Pakistani Interior Minister’s request to return Aafia to Pakistan but only after her sentencing. Keep up the pressure by writing to US Attorney General Eric Holder to express your outrage at the sentence and request Aafia’s immediate repatriation to Pakistan.

Write to the Pakistani government – whilst we thank them for finally requesting her repatriation last weekend, it was effectively too little too late. They must demand the transfer of Aafia Siddiqui as a matter of urgency, to go some way to restore the considerable damage to their reputation and to quell the anger of the nation.

Some points to make:

* Aafia Siddiqui can be deported to Pakistan under the UN Convention for Exchange/Repatriation of Prisoners on Humanitarian Grounds.

* Reportedly, there are over 90 precedents in the legal history of the US where cases against such individuals were dropped on humanitarian or political grounds under the UN Convention.

* The case has become a matter of public concern in Pakistan and her repatriation to Pakistan would create goodwill for the US and restore Pakistan’s reputation at a time of immense anger and disappointment.

* Her two children have been separated from their mother for almost eight years. They are living in a constant state of uncertainty, which is having a significant impact on their health. As a result of today’s sentence they will effectively have no relationship with their mother and will never see her again, if they do not act

* The aging mother of Dr Aafia is suffering from depression and ill health

For addresses of who to contact and for previous sample letters, see http://justiceforaafia.org/take-action/act-now/573-urgent-action-demand-aafia-siddiquis-immediate-repatriation-to-pakistan

3. If you have not written words of support to Aafia’s family before today, now is the time to do it. Email your messages to support@justiceforaafia.org

4. If you would like to help us to raise awareness then email info@justiceforaafia.org

5. Download the petition sheet and print it – fill it with signatures from amongst your friends, family, work colleagues, fellow students, at your mosque or faith group, Amnesty or STW group, at your circles and events you attend. See http://www.justiceforaafia.org/attachments/570_JFAC Aafia Siddiqui Petition Final.pdf
6. Help us to help Aafia by volunteering with JFAC today.

7. Write to Aafia to remind her that on this black day she is not forgotten. AAFIA SIDDIQUI # 90279-054, MDC BROOKLYN, METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER, P.O. BOX 329002, BROOKLYN, NY 11232

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