US court hears Dr Aafia Siddiqui's lawyers appeal

Published: February 11, 2012
Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, was sentenced to 86 years in prison by the Federal District Court in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS

Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, was sentenced to 86 years in prison by the Federal District Court in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS

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.”

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Uza Syed
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:19AM

    The American citizen Dr Aafia Siddiqui is an American problem and they do not need our assistance or wisdom to solve their problems, period.


  • Feb 11, 2012 - 1:19AM

    Sentenced for 86 years, i hope if someone had sentenced Bush for mass murdering that long too


  • Cautious
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:20AM

    It would appear that Pakistani Ambassador Rehman didn’t know that Dawn Cardi was actually representing Aafia Siddique when she told the reporters about her extensive meeting with Tina Foster whom she thought represented Siddique. Maybe some enterprising Pakistani reporter should ask her to explain the mix-up.


  • raeesa
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:15AM

    I hope they let her go she’s an innocent mother n sister oh Allah show your mercy on her cause onlt Allah knows what’s best..ill be praying and keeping faith that she may be released.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:50AM

    @Uza Syed

    The American citizen Dr Aafia Siddiqui
    is an American problem and they do not
    need our assistance or wisdom to solve
    their problems, period.

    The American’s paid for her education – but she’s not an American citizen. She tried to kill an American which is why she is serving time in an American jail. Pakistan spent millions on her defense but she refused their advice and took the stand where she was shredded by the prosecutor who proved she was a blatant liar.


  • Zeta
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:01AM

    @Uza Syed:
    Excuse me, She is Pakistani national.
    Make yourself aware of facts before posting


  • Sobia
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:10AM

    @ Uza Syed Yess IF Pakistan had any Wisdom.
    Khayr I hope your not placed in her shoes one day and are refused to be supported because you’ve been packed and shipped by the Pakistani authorities to no man’s land (Gitmo).

    It is quiet sickening to see such attitude from so called ‘Muslims’, whether she’s in Pakistan, America, UK or even Space, she is a MUSLIM sister, she is our Honour.

    For your information the Prophet(saw) wasn’t a Pakistani either so I gather you would turn your back if he called to support other fellow Muslims. Quiet sick and selfish are you not.

    Yet again Pakistan started this problem by handing her over to USA and they need to man unless it doesn’t have any men in Pakistan (excluding the innocent public, who never get a say in such matters).

    Words if wisdom: Speak Good or remain silent’.


  • Dr Khan
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:12AM

    Shame on you Uza Syed, shame. Aafia Siddiqi is not a Pakistani problem, but a Muslim problem, we must support her against this tyrant display of double standards, and oppressive authority which the US has so uneqivocally used against our sister. Aafia is in our prayers.


  • Abrar
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:18AM

    @Uza Syed: Very well said, I absolutely agree with your view of Dr. Afia being an American problem. Regarding her conviction and sentence I am sure she has been given a fair trial and every opportunity was extended to her to defend herself which she had fully availed. I do place more faith in American Justice System than Ours anytime of the day.


  • Feb 11, 2012 - 5:29AM

    Lets hope she will be freed. Amen :)


  • Abrar
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:30AM

    @Abreen: Remember the adage, ” Do the Crime and You do the Time.” We all make choices at different junctures in our lives, unfortunately she made wrong ones.


  • Abrar
    Feb 11, 2012 - 9:19AM

    @ Cautious and Zeta:If I may correct, Dr. Afia is a bonafide US Citizen, she may still be carrying a Pakistani Passport as a great many Pakistani Nationals living overseas do to circumvent the visa requirements.
    @Dr. Khan how is it that Dr. Afia a Muslim problem? She may be your problem but not mine, please do not drag the whole Ummah along to prove something which completely defies logic and common sense. I am a Muslim good or not so good only Allah knows that, but what I know and certain about is that she is not our problem. As I had commented earlier that there was a solid case against her of supporting terrorism and it was also the very ground for her conviction. I endorsed Uza Syed opinion because there is truth in it.


  • Nine-Zero Karachi
    Feb 11, 2012 - 9:28AM

    @Dr Khan: How many “Muslim problems” do you raise your voice against Dr.Khan? Or is it strictly selective?


  • Abrar
    Feb 11, 2012 - 9:39AM

    @Sobia: Let us be real, how about thousands of innocent girls languishing in Pakistani Prisons. Are not they our honour? It is funny how some people suddenly see a convicted felon to represent our honour only because she studied at MIT. Big deal.


  • Feb 11, 2012 - 9:54AM

    If we really want this innocent lady back then we should critically analyze “Raymond Davis” Case. A classical case study of how to get your citizen back


  • Cobra Commander
    Feb 11, 2012 - 10:36AM

    Dr Afia’s ex husband has given an extensive interview regarding her. The interview is available online and it should be read in it’s entirety. Dr. Afia did hold a green card and according to her ex husband , she did act in collusion with al Qaida. There is no way Dr. Afia is “qom ki beti” or a Muslim problem. No one cares about her out of Pakistan and do recall that she was caught in Muslim Afghanistan. Thousands of Pakistan’s are langushing in foreign jails without any legal assistance from our state and we have blown millions on this Dr. There are countless women in pakistani jails, who are jAiled on trumped up charges and not a single voice is raised on their behalf. It is our hatred for US that most of us are crying for Dr. Afia. Just like Salala incident , where army men died fighting US forces and everyone and their aunt raised a raucous but when Taliban brutally murdered 25 soldiers , everyone and their aunt went mum. Hating US sells in Pakistan, it garners votes for politicians. garners money for Jihadi Industry and our Army uses it to hide it’s incompetency .


  • Mustafa
    Feb 11, 2012 - 10:42AM

    I am so happy people have the courage to speak the truth. How stupid we can get? What was she doing in Afghanistan? Did Americans take her there? Why did she divorce her husband to marry the son of 9/11’s mastermind Khalid Sheikh? Stupidity won’t serve any purpose. Rad the news again. Read the details of earlier trial. See what her lawyers were arguing. Earlier, they said she deserved 16 years, not 86. Now they are saying she deserves not 86. It was not even argued that she was innocent. This is a classic case that explains the stupidity of Pakistanis and we are bent on making it an issue of Muslim ummah. I do not want to be associated with a criminal. Has any other Muslim country even issued a statement for her defence?


  • Tony C.
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:37AM

    Other than Iran most Muslim countries appear to be U.S. poodles, and do whatever the U.S. says.


  • ru
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:52AM

    Shame on u to those wu believe in “american justice” bcz it don’t exist for muslims! Dr. Aafia is our sister in islam and 2 humanity. U trust d american justice? D same americans wu planned n executed 911 on dmslvs jus 2 blame d muslims…it has bn proven! Ds is all d working and signs of the anti christ “dajjal”! Fear 4u have to face ur creator some dayRecommend

  • Naureen Bokhari
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:55AM

    I am amused at the people who are blindly supporting a terrorist that was ready to use violence of killing innocent men women and children. Please ask yourself an a simple question before you all stand on the bully pulpit and claim her innocence.
    What if her attacks caused one of your family members to be taken from you would your feeling of compassion be so bold! Using ignorant hysteria to justify the vile acts is a crime of all of Dr Afia she does not deserve any compassion she was apprehended before she could cause any mayhem for that we should be thankful!


  • Feb 11, 2012 - 12:01PM

    She is an American citizen. And, should be America’s problem.

    But, some come up with the argument that since she is Muslim its also our problem. But, the plight of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China is never your problem. You happily take money from the Chinese, but when it comes to Sidiqqui, you are all “Ummah First”. How hypocritical is that!


  • Uza Syed
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:45PM


    Muslim! Good, we are over 180 Million Muslims right here and we are Pakistani citizens. The US $ 3 Million that our government foolishly has thrown out the window for this one terrorist woman could have been spent on our own children right here in Pakistan. I can assure you this could raise a few deserving high calibre Pakistanis to go out and earn an honour for themselves and do us Pakistan proud. This could make the world see Pakistan and Pakistanis as contributors to positive things in life rather terrorism.


  • Tony C.
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:48PM

    It is quite apparent that most of those writing comments have not read what has been happening to Dr. Siddiqui over the last few years. On the face of it she appears to be a dedicated Moslem and that does not go down well with America. From reading court transcripts it appears that she has been found guilty of attempting to shoot the person interrogating her by grabbing his rifle in a room full of men, and for that she has been sentenced to 86 years in prison. The whole thing, on the face of it, appears to be a case of U.S. instigated smoke and mirrors, and if you believe it you would also have to believe in Alice-in Wonderland. If anyone can produce an alternative to my version, based on facts I have not heard of, I would like to hear it. Further to this the reason she was dragged into interrogation was because she was related to somebody the Americans did not like.


  • yaz
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:08PM

    In 2004-05 she was on FBI most wanted list as a collaborator of Al-Qaeda. Yet when she is caught no terrorism charge is brought on her. A silly charge of ‘attempting to kill an agent’ has been brought on her. Yet she is the one who got shot. Where is the terrorism charge on which she was being pursued? 86 years on attemting to kill? Some justice.


  • zee
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Dr conrad murray killed michael jackson and got sentenced for 4yrs . Dr aafia siddique killed no 1 and was sentenced 86yrz 4 killing noone , american justice system like noo other in the world!!!!!!


  • Cautious
    Feb 11, 2012 - 9:41PM


    @ Cautious and Zeta:If I may correct,
    Dr. Afia is a bonafide US Citizen,

    I beg to differ – she held a “green card” which is different than being a USA citizen – the only citizenship she held was Pakistani.


  • Pakistani
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:23PM

    she is most qualified person then any AmericanRecommend

  • Harry Stone
    Feb 12, 2012 - 6:12AM

    At least the world knows where she is.


  • Luba Latif
    Feb 12, 2012 - 6:30AM

    @Tony C since you have so much inside information I think maybe you should act as the advocate for Dr. Afia ?Recommend

  • Truth Seeker
    Feb 12, 2012 - 10:44AM


    “Regarding her conviction and sentence I am sure she has been given a fair trial and every opportunity was extended to her to defend herself which she had fully availed. I do place more faith in American Justice System than Ours anytime of the day.”

    I fail to see the justice in the American Justice System as you pointed out.

    Five US army soldiers stationed at an Iraqi check post see a beautiful 14 years old Iraqi girl grooming the lawn of her nearby home. They break-in, gang-rape her while keeping her family at gun point, and then shoot the whole family. For raping a minor and killing 4 innocents; her father, mother, 6 year old sister and herself; they are handed varying terms averaging 16.45 years(1).

    In comparison, here is a Muslim naturalized US citizen, or Green Card holder, who dares pointing a gun towards a US soldier. Let’s assume she was being treated appropriately and her years of captivity before the incidence was perfectly legal, she is served with 86 years prison time for her “heinous” crime.

    In any other part of the civilized world, I bet the crime of the soldiers would be considered far far more barbarous in nature than that of the Dr., but not in USA – the self proclaimed champion of all the good in this universe. This is the justice, albeit American style.

    (1) The terms were 27 months, 10 years, 10 years, 20 years, and life time respectively for soldiers 1 to 5 – no death penalty for killing 4 innocents, or any financial compensation for the two remaining kids who were in school at the time of the incident.

    For full story check


  • Tony C.
    Feb 12, 2012 - 6:25PM

    @Luba Latif:
    Dear Luba Latif,
    Now that I and others have criticized the U.S., so called justice system, we could probably be charged with being “enemies of the state”, and put on the “no-fly-list” if we are not on it already. Unfortunately, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is between a rock and a hard place. If she is to be rescued from the crazies in Washington it will need serious intervention from the Pakistan Government. You may recall that an American shot a couple of men in the street some time ago, and was released. The Pakistan Government could have arranged an exchange for Dr. Siddiqui, with the Americans, at that time. It is not too late. The Americans have really upset Pakistan in recent times, and Dr. Siddiqui’s release could be part of the bargaining negotiations if the Pakistan Government wanted it.


  • Harry Stone
    Feb 13, 2012 - 4:49AM

    @Tony C.:

    The men he shot were ISI agents on a mission to kill him. You also over look the fact in was a member of the embassy staff and should have never been arrested in the first place.

    The is a game PAK does not want to enter into. If it choses too fine, and good luck. The end result will be that it is just one more example of how PAK support terrorists.


  • Waseem
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:09PM


    After doing much research etc on this case:

    It is clear that Aafia is innocent.

    There was no evidence that she had tried or shot at American soldiers. There was no finger prints neither was there any shells from the bullets that were shot.

    All U.S officials had contradicting stories with regard to the what exactly had happened.

    2003- Aafia had disappeared after the U.S had sent out an alert, in order to capture her.

    However, they claim she was not held captive and was in the city etc etc. If Aafia was in the city and the US had sent out an alert, the US was unable to locate her? She was seen at her home on numerous occasions? And the US did not capture her in 5 years.

    Readers please look at the facts regarding this case, she definitely had to have been captured.

    MayAllah grant her Jannah insha Allah, may she be a role model for our Muslim sisters.


  • Tony C.
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:51PM

    @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.


  • ray
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:03AM

    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!Recommend

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