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Rules Undefined

June 12, 2009

Peace On Earth Hands

She went to MIT and Brandeis, married a Brigham and Women’s physician, made her home in Boston, cared for her children, and raised money for charities. Aafia Siddiqui was a normal woman living a normal American life. Until the FBI called her a terror (Katherine Ozment, Boston Magazine)

When the world first witnessed the images of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, there was shock and disbelief at the level of torture a human being can bring onto another. Society might have placed us under labels of religion, gender, social class, but deep down we all feel the same hurt; the same happiness. Just like Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan unlawfully employ religion to justify torture, American soldiers in Iraq and officers in Guantánamo rest the blame on top commanders.

Human rights abuse; no matter who does it, where it happens and when it occurs is morally unwarrantable. Unless, we place the violators on trial, this viscous cycle of power abuse can never be put to rest. Whether these abuses occurred during the Bush Administration or the Clinton regime holds no value. The key to the resolution of the peace problem; we need to prevent cultivating future terrorists by highlighting the true meaning of justice to the East, as well as to the West; justice which is blind to religion, color of skin, social class and gender. Only then can we move one step closer towards winning the hearts and minds of people worldwide.

In the case of Abdul Haleem, a Pakistani known to the US authorities as Abdul Halim Sidiqi, who was freed in October 2006 after spending nearly five years attempting to persuade his captors that he was not, as they thought, a great leader who had “assembled some 2,000 Pakistani and Arab fighters to fight the United States and its allies,” Lasseter writes, “Like most other former detainees interviewed, Haleem wasn’t captured by US soldiers. He was rounded up by Afghan troops loyal to warlords who made a small fortune selling their prisoners to the American military. The higher the profile of the prisoner, the more money the warlords could demand. An al-Qaeda-affiliated commander, for instance, fetched a much higher price than an ordinary foot soldier.” (Andy Worthington, Huffington Post)

The purpose of my article is not to qualify all prisoners held at Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib as innocent, but rather to question the standards used in treating prisoners, which are illegitimately found guilty before even a trial. Doctor Afia Siddiqui was one such victim.

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, on March 2, 1972, Aafia Siddiqui moved to Texas in 1990 and after spending a year at the University of Houston, she transferred to MIT, where she was granted a $5,000 grant in her sophomore year to study the effects of Islam on women in Pakistan. Later on after her graduation from MIT, Aafia got married to Mohammed Amjad Khan; a medical student based in Boston. She continued to pursue further education at Brandeis University, where she completed her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience. The couple returned to Pakistan in 2002 and decided to part ways, as tensions grew between the two. Aafia returned to the United States during the same year in hopes of securing a job in Baltimore, where her sister was working, but returned back to Pakistan, as her three children were still staying with her mother in Karachi.

Aafia, along with her three children (seven, five and six months old) vanished in the Spring of 2003, when she had left for the train station to travel to Islamabad.

In the year 2008:

According to a Nov. 6, 2008, confidential forensic examination from a federal medical center in Carswell, Texas, mental health professionals have concluded, “Ms. Siddiqui is not currently competent to proceed as a result of her mental disease, which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense.”

In the year 2009:

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Wednesday demanded that the government make arrangements for the repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and to locate her two missing children. Speaking at a joint news conference with Dr Aafia’s sister, he criticised intelligence agencies for abducting a Pakistani woman and handing her over to the US. He said the government should also demand the US to immediately hand over Dr Aafia’s two children, whose detention was a blatant violation of human rights.

Observe the videos below:

Per Tehran Times:

British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who was captured by the Taliban and later converted to Islam, visited Pakistan recently and called on the international community to work for the release of Aafia whom she calls a “grey lady”. Siddiqui was also included in a list published by Amnesty International in June 2007 as someone for whom there was “evidence of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown”.

Retired Squadron leader and head of the Defense of Human Rights organization; Khalid Khawaja told Adnkronos International (AKI):

The government does not want to discuss this matter because they have handed over dozens of people to the U.S. in violation of rules. That is why when the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry tried to summon the intelligence chiefs and ask them to clarify their position concerning missing people, he was sacked.

It is uncertain whether Aafia Siddiqui is innocent or in fact a radical linked to Al Qaeda, but what is certain are the politics at play behind her imprisonment. Aafia Siddiqui now 38 years old has lost 6 years of her life and two children to political treachery.

200573103-001“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

–  Martin Luther King, Jr.

5 Comments
  1. Thomas permalink
    June 12, 2009 3:08 pm

    Please continue writing about this Maria! Does Amnesty/Human Rights Watch believe she is currently at one of the black sites? The continued competition between the ISI and Army in Pakistan and the CIA and Washington National Security institutions in the US seems to continue to use people like Aafia Siddiqui as ammunition.

  2. mariazk permalink
    June 13, 2009 11:21 am

    Well, from what my research has revealed she is presently in Texas at a medical center and flashes in and out of her memory. One of her sons has been returned to her family, but her other 2 children are still missing. Her sister and family back in Pakistan are trying to get her back on the grounds of her current psychological state.
    Will definitely write more, if I hear of any new updates!

  3. Waqas Ahmed permalink
    October 16, 2009 1:56 pm

    Please Join us at Facebook
    No More Lies – We Demand Aafia’s immediate Release
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=101968697859

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