Web DeskPublished: 1 June 2023 at 11:51 | Updated: 1 June 2023 at 11:51
"Pakistani Neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui Appears 'Miserable and Terrified' in US Prison, Says Senator"
Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who has been imprisoned in the United States for over a decade, appeared "miserable and terrified" due to the torture she has endured, according to Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmed.
Senator Ahmed met with Dr Aafia a day after her reunion with her younger sister, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, after 20 years. The meeting took place at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Texas on Wednesday.
During their meeting, which lasted three hours and took place behind a glass shield, Senator Ahmed observed Dr Aafia's distressed state. She was described as wearing an off-white scarf, khaki dress, and white joggers. Her poor health, watery eyes, and broken front teeth reflected the abuse and suffering she has endured during her imprisonment.
Dr Aafia expressed her desire to be freed from the "hell" she is experiencing, as she struggled with hearing difficulties due to a head injury. At the end of the meeting, she was taken away in chains.
Senator Ahmed and Clive Stafford-Smith, a prominent human rights activist, tried to divert Dr Aafia's attention by discussing books, literature, poetry, and other subjects. Despite showing exceptional verbal skills in discussing various topics, she would frequently remember her children and express her anguish over her imprisonment and uncertain future.
Senator Ahmed emphasized that the key to securing Dr Aafia's release lies in Islamabad, not Washington, urging politicians to take action.
Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated Pakistani scientist, was convicted in 2010 by a New York federal district court on charges of attempted murder and assault. These charges stemmed from an incident during an interview with US authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan, although she denied the accusations. While she was suspected of having links to Al-Qaeda, she was never convicted of it.
Dr Aafia traveled to the US at the age of 18 to study at MIT and later earned a PhD in neuroscience from Brandeis University. However, following the 9/11 attacks, she came under FBI scrutiny due to her donations to Islamic organizations and her association with the purchase of certain items. The US suspected her involvement with Al-Qaeda and believed she had returned to Pakistan after marrying into a family associated with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks.
Dr Aafia disappeared in Karachi around 2003, along with her three children. Five years later, she was arrested in Afghanistan by local forces in Ghazni province, where the ongoing conflict has made the region unstable.