US court hears Dr Aafia Siddiqui's lawyers appeal

Aafia's lawyers argued nine points in her appeal that her terrorism enhancements were not based on facts .

Huma Imtiaz February 10, 2012

WASHINGTON: More than a year after the infamous neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison on charges of attacking US soldiers, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard an appeal in New York on Friday.

Speaking to the The Express Tribune, Dawn Cardi, Dr Siddiqui’s lawyer who has filed the appeal, said that they argued nine points. Cardi said that Dr Siddiqui’s statements that were used to impeach her were not voluntarily obtained, and that she should get a new trial.

Cardi said that the terrorism enhancements should have been imposed on the facts because it increased the 20-year sentence that Dr Sidduqui would have gotten to life sentence. Dr Siddiqui’s lawyer also said that they argued in front of the court that because of Dr Siddiqui’s mental health condition, her lawyers should have made the decision about her testifying at court, and not Dr Siddiqui herself.

When asked about the road ahead for the woman whose case grabbed headlines around the world when she was discovered at Bagram in 2008, Cardi said, “We wont know until the court writes its decision. It’ll take 3-4 months, and then there is no other recourse. Unless there is a constitutional issue of significance, you can not make an appeal to the Supreme Court, but its too early to say.”

Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist by profession and a graduate of MIT and currently held at a federal medical centre in Texas, allegedly went missing for five years before she was discovered in Afghanistan. The prosecution says that she tried to fire on a US soldier during her interrogation. She has also been accused of working for al Qaeda. Dr Siddiqui’s family disputes the US version of this account.

After her sentencing in September 2010, Dr Siddiqui also tried to fire her lawyers, and wrote a letter to the court that she did not want her case appealed. Dawn Cardi, Dr Siddiqui’s counsel, said that no one ever filed a notice of appearance for Dr Siddiqui to do her appeal. “As her assigned counsel, it is our obligation to appeal her case.”


ray | 12 years ago | Reply O my word! @ naureen Doesn't matter what your crime is no woman deserves to be raped! Its sad that one woman takes satisfaction in another womans anguish! And before u say it has not been proven please go and check your facts!
Tony C. | 12 years ago | Reply

@Harry Stone: Dear Harry, I think you have missed the entire point of what I was trying to say, or ignored it. I was merely pointing out that when country's such as Pakistan/America have a problem they should try to solve it by quietly returning the offending people, after a brief sojourn in detention of course. Before this ridiculous sentence of 86 years practically no one had heard of Dr. Siddiqui. Now, the whole world knows about her, and rightly so in my opinion. Further, you did miss out on some of the finer points of the person the Pakistan Government released, in their wish to keep relations with America on a reasonable level. The man was Mr. Raymond Davis, aged 36. He got out of his car in Lahore and shot two young men at the traffic lights. He rang the U.S. embassy for help and several armed men raced to the scene and killed a third person on the way. Their appears to be strong speculation that Mr. Davis was an ex-special forces person, had been employed by Blackwater, was a CIA agent, and was part of the U.S embassy. He used an automatic pistol to kill the Pakistanis, his car possessed an unlicensed pistol, long range radio, GPS system, infra red torch and a camera with sensitive pictures in it. Hardly the possessions of legitimate embassy staff. Mr. Davis is out of prison only because he had quite wrongly been given embassy protection status. I have not heard of any legitimate reason why Dr. Siddiqui was arrested, and for such a long period before being charged. The reason Dr. Siddiqui was sentenced is because she resisted strenuous interrogation, and the U.S. court system only knew this because of the doubtful word of her torturers at Bagram. If any of my facts are seriously incorrect I would be pleased if you could advise me.

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