– maintains prosecution withheld crucial evidence, she was denied her constitutional right to counsel
KARACHI: The daughter of the nation, Dr Aafia Siddiqui has filed a legal case to seek overturn of her conviction by a US federal court on September 23, 2010.
Aafia’s lawyer Tina M Foster has announced in New York that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has filed a legal case seeking to overturn her September 23, 2010 conviction by a U.S. federal court. Though Dr. Siddiqui has always maintained her innocence and there was no physical evidence to support the charges against her, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted of attempted murder while she was being interrogated by U.S. personnel at a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
In documents filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Dr. Siddiqui argues that her conviction and sentence should be vacated because the prosecution withheld crucial evidence, and that she was denied her constitutional right to counsel.
The case argues that the U.S. government illegally withheld evidence that Dr. Siddiqui and her three small children were abducted from Karachi, Pakistan in 2003 and secretly detained, interrogated and tortured in U.S. and Pakistani custody for five years prior to her arrest in 2008.
Among other evidence, exhibits filed with the case include a transcript of an audio recording in which a senior Pakistani police official, Imran Shaukat, admits to his involvement in Dr. Siddiqui’s abduction from Karachi, Pakistan in March 2003. A link to the full audio recording in Urdu/Punjabi is available at the following URL:
Dr. Siddiqui also argues that she was denied her right to counsel because the judge forced her to be represented by attorneys that were not acting in her interest. The attorneys, who were paid $2 million by the Government of Pakistan, were permitted to enter the case and manage Dr. Siddiqui’s defense over her repeated objections.
Though Dr. Siddiqui informed her trial attorneys that she had been in detention from 2003-2008, they did not present the information to the judge or jury at trial.
Dr. Siddiqui is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence at a U.S. federal prison at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, TX. She is unable to speak with the media due to prison restrictions, but is presently represented by attorneys Tina Foster and Robert Boyle, both of whom stand in solidarity with the international community in condemning Dr. Siddiqui’s unfair trial and sentence.
“The evidence presented in today’s lawsuit demonstrates not only that Dr. Siddiqui did not receive a fair trial and was wrongfully convicted, but also sheds a bright light on the violations of Dr. Siddiqui’s fundamental human rights by the governments of the United States and Pakistan,” says Foster.
“Despite the grotesque torture and abuse perpetrated against Dr. Siddiqui and her children, she has never advocated violence or revenge,” Foster said adding, “she wishes nothing more than to return to Pakistan where she can be reunited with her children and live in peace.