Friday, September 5, 2008

The Breaking of Aafia Siddiqui

Please see: The Grey Lady of Bagram

Where Are Aafia Siddiqui's Children?

"Lawyer: Siddiqui May Be Mentally Unfit to Stand Trial; Pakistani Woman Charged With Attempted Murder of U.S. Personnel in Afghanistan" by Carol D. Leonnig Washington Post | September 4, 2008

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 -- The lawyer for an American-trained neuroscientist charged with trying to kill U.S. personnel in July said in court Thursday that she believes her client was imprisoned and tortured for several years before the incident and now might be "mentally incompetent."

Attorney Elizabeth Fink told a federal judge in New York that Aafia Siddiqui, who disappeared in Pakistan with her three children in March 2003, needs a full psychological evaluation to determine whether she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and competent to help in her own defense. She also urged that Siddiqui be examined by experts in the effects of torture.

Siddiqui, 36, did not appear in court for Thursday's arraignment. Her lawyer said that due to significant abdominal wounds, Siddiqui has refused to submit to a strip search that is required before she can leave the prison. Fink told Berman that Siddiqui shows signs of having been imprisoned and treated inhumanely for a long period of time.

"She's on the borderline," Fink said. "I believe this woman was kidnapped with her children and she's been held in custody -- either the Pakistan intelligence officials or some arm of our government. . . . I believe she was released in July and set up for this confrontation."

According to documents described in court by Fink, Siddiqui told prison staff she feared her son was being starved and tortured and asked them to take food off her tray in the New York prison and send it to her son in Afghanistan. Siddiqui's son is a U.S. citizen but remains in the custody of Afghan authorities.