Senate body passes resolution for Dr Aafia’s release

December 12, 2009

Dec 12, 2009
By Irfan Bukhari
Daily Times

* Acting foreign secretary says FO working for release of Pakistani neuroscientist

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior on Friday passed a unanimous resolution demanding the government take measures for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

The resolution also asked the Foreign Office (FO) to convey the people’s concern to the United Nations and other human rights organisations. The committee, chaired by Senator Talha Mehmood, reviewed the status of Dr Aafia’s case and the efforts being made by the government to secure her release.

“The Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior urges the Government of Pakistan to ensure the prompt repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani citizen, from the government of the United States where she is being detained and tried on the basis of questionable facts and unfounded charges,” the resolution read. The resolution also reads, “… the committee is deeply concerned about the plight of Dr Aafia’s three dependent children, two of whom are still missing since March 2003.”

Release: Acting Foreign Secretary Haroon Shaukat told the body that the FO was taking measures in this regard.

“The prime minister and the foreign minister have requested US authorities and US Congress in this connection and our government is defending Dr Aafia in a US court,” he said, adding that the government had hired three veteran lawyers for this purpose. Former secretary interior Tasneem Noorani told the committee that no first information report (FIR) had been registered against the kidnapping of Dr Aafia since 2003. Sindh Additional Inspector General Zafar Farooqui told the committee the FIR had been lodged after six and a half years of the incident.

Also See 

Senate body for prompt repatriation of Dr Aafia (The News)



Reply sought from federal govt

December 12, 2009

Dec 11,2009 The Nation

LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Thursday asked the federal government to precisely inform the court on December 21 as to how the case of release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui be proceeded in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The court passed this order after the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Naveed Inayat Malik on behalf of the federal government had told that Dr Aafia’s case could not be moved to ICJ because she had been arrested in Afghanistan and it was not agreed by that country to move it the ICJ, a pre-requisite under the international law.
The DAG, however, admitted that a friendship treaty existed between Pakistan and the US but the Afghanistan government was a hurdle in the way.
Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry disapproving this stance observed that apparently the foreign ministry was speaking the US language.
The circumstantial evidences and several media reports say that Dr Aafia was arrested from Karachi and later handed over to America by Pakistani government, the judge further observed.
The judge adjourned the hearing of a contempt petition till December 21, seeking repatriation of Dr Aafia, and asked the DAG to tell the court about upshots if government had moved ICJ regarding subject matter after fulfilling all legal implications but the ICJ had dismissed the plea.
Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffree, who filed the petition, submitted that the court had earlier directed the government to take action for the release and repatriation of Dr Aafia but it did not comply with court orders. He said the court had also asked the government to move International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the release of Dr Aafia but the government was vain to do so.

Barrister Iqbal said the government had engaged a panel of US lawyers on a hefty fee for contesting case of Dr Afia but had not bothered to move ICJ, which cost nothing.
He prayed to the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against respondents for defying court orders.


Dr Aafia’s lawyer asks govt to move ICJ

November 28, 2009

The News Saturday, November 28, 2009

By Usman Manzoor

ISLAMABAD: After being subjected to a strip search, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani woman held by the Americans on account of terrorism charges, is not allowed to receive even ordinary mail in the New York jail.

Barrister Iqbal Jafree, her lawyer, while talking to The News disclosed that he and a few members of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s family had been continuously writing to her in New York but the letters always returned undelivered because of wrong address. “I cannot understand that the post offices in USA do not know the addresses of Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York and the address of the Federal Court,” said the lawyer who spent decades in the US.

He said that it was the fundamental right of a prisoner to receive mail and to send mail. “But I think the Americans have forgotten these moral principles when it comes to a poor, ailing Pakistani lady.”

He said: “The family of Aafia cannot interact with her even through ordinary mail and we listen to long lectures on human rights by the Americans when their own interest is involved.”

Barrister Jafree said that after passing five years of horrendous detention, reportedly at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, the woman was subjected to continuous humiliation at the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, in the name of strip search.

The lawyer said that the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui could be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Pak-US Treaty of Friendship and Commerce signed in 1959, as the government had failed to secure her repatriation through diplomatic means. Mentioning the clauses of the treaty, the lawyer observed that Aafia’s case could be shifted to the ICJ on a simple letter from the Government of Pakistan.

He said that one simple application from the government could bring the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the ICJ where there would be independent judges who could judge better the reality about the Pakistani doctor.

He claimed that the charges against Dr Aafia were rubbish but Americans would never let her go. “We have the examples of Aimal Kansi and an Italian underworld don after whose execution Italy stopped extraditing prisoners to USA”, said the lawyer.


Attorney general, Interior Ministry issued notices in Dr Aafia case

November 26, 2009

Daily Times Staff Report Thursday, November 26, 2009

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the attorney general of Pakistan and the Interior Ministry on a contempt petition against the federal government for not taking the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The court also directed the respondents to file replies by December 10. Barrister Iqbal Jafferry, counsel for Dr Aafia Siddiqui, filed the petition, in which he submitted that the court had earlier directed the government to take steps for the release and repatriation of Dr Aafia within 30 days, but nothing had been done in this regard. He said the government had laid aside a hefty amount to fight the case, but it did not bother spending a small amount on writing to the ICJ to take up the matter.


SHC issues notice to respondents in Aafia Siddiqui case

November 25, 2009

Source: AAJ TV

Tuesday, 25 Nov, 2008 12:38 pm

KARACHI : The Sindh High Court (SHC), on a constitutional petition against the arrest of a Pakistani citizen, Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her three children, keeping them at separate places and their handing over to US, has issued notice to the respondents for December 5.

Human Rights Network president, Intikhab Alam Suri had filed the petition in SHC through Iqbal Aqeel Advocate, making a plea that Aafia Siddiqui along with her three children was abducted and they were being kept at separate unknown places and tortured, while Dr Aafia Siddiqui in sub-conscious state was handed over to US although no evidence against her exists. The petition further said, “She is a Pakistani citizen, her security was the government’s responsibility and, therefore, the respondents-federal interior and foreign ministries and the federation should be ordered to recover and bring back Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her three children by fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

SHC Bench comprised of Chief Justice, Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Ghulam Dastagir Shahani.

 


Senate body wants renewed efforts for Dr Aafia’s release

November 22, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009 Daily Times

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Saturday decided to formulate a resolution to press the US to release Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani scientist detained by Washington for allegedly attacking US officials.

The resolution would be submitted to the Ministry of Law and Justice for further consideration. The committee, which met with Senator Talha Mahmood in the chair, directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to negotiate with US authorities and allow Ms Farah, a family friend of Dr Aafia, to assist her in the case. The committee said it would visit Karachi to meet Dr Aafia’s relatives and others linked to the case. It was also decided that the government would focus on Dr Aafia’s release and investigate her reported abduction from Pakistan and subsequent detention in Afghanistan.

Committee members also directed officials of the Interior and Foreign ministries to take the necessary steps to ensure Dr Aafia’s release. Aafia’s sister, Dr Fouzia, informed the committee that she had tried to register an FIR a number of times during the last five years, but senior police officials had asked her not to pursue the case. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Senator Almas Parveen, Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, Senator Israrullah Khan, Senator Najma Hameed and senior officials of the ministries of Interior, Law and Justice, Foreign Affairs and law enforcement agencies attended the meeting. tahir niaz

 


Dr Afia Siddiqui vows New York trial boycott

November 21, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009 Daily Times

* Says she will not attend trial in the US
* Not dealing with defence lawyers anymore

NEW YORK: US-trained scientist from Pakistan, Dr Afia Siddiqui, accused of shooting at Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and helping Al Qaeda, vowed on Thursday to boycott her January trial.

Afia interrupted lawyers at her pre trial hearing in US District Court in Manhattan to announce that she did not plan to participate in her trial, scheduled for January 19.

Not here: “I am boycotting this trial,” she said. “I am innocent of all the charges and I can prove it, but I will not do it in this court,” she added. Afia was brought to the US in August 2008 after she was accused of grabbing a US Army officer’s rifle in Afghanistan several weeks earlier and firing at US soldiers and FBI agents. She was shot in the abdomen in the fight and was charged with attempted murder and assault.

Lawyers for Siddiqui tried to convince the court that she was mentally incompetent to stand trial, citing in part her refusal to cooperate with lawyers and the reports of a psychologist who said she suffered from delusional disorder and depression.

US District Judge Richard M Berman rejected the argument after prosecutors pointed to psychological reports that concluded she was faking mental illness. Berman on Thursday rejected defence arguments aimed at tossing out charges against the 37-year-old Afia that carried a potential minimum prison sentence of 30 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.

No more dealing: Before he ruled on the request, Afia said visits by her lawyers were “torture for me” and it was a waste of money for lawyers to go to Afghanistan to interview witnesses because she was not participating in the trial. “I’m not dealing with them anymore,” Siddiqui said of her lawyers. “They’re just people coming to my door and talking, talking and talking,” she added. ap