We received the following photos on the Press Conference. There was a story on the Associated Press of Pakistan, the full text being posted below the sleeve. Main points from this story:
- Elizabeth Fink (lawyer for Dr. Aafia) demanded that Dr. Aafia be transferred to a hospital for the proper, “recommended” care, ordered by the Court.
- Fink called the U.S. authorities’ indifference towards her client as “cruel and inhuman” and in violation of American laws.
- U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia (the prosecutor) informed her through a letter on Friday that an 11-year-old boy detained along with Dr. Siddiqui appears to be the Pakistani woman’s son.
- Child is American citizen, not Pakistani– needs to be collected by State Department from the Afghan government. [US Govt’s behavior is unbelievable in their treatment of this young child]
- Ms. Siddiqui has recently refused to meet with her lawyers, because the prison changed its policy and now requires her to undergo a full strip search before meeting visitors. The abdominal wound and other health problems recently observed during a medical examination make it too painful for Siddiqui to undergo an invasive full-body search, Ms. Fink said, calling the procedure “dehumanizing and degrading.”.
If we receive any further word, we will post it here
NEW YORK, Aug 26 (APP): A lawyer for Aafia Sidiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist charged with trying to kill American interrogators in Afghanistan, has made a fervent plea to U.S. authorities to immediately shift her client to a hospital in view of her worsening state of health.
“Her condition has significantly deteriorated since August four when she was brought to New York,” an angry Elizabeth Fink told a press conference in a Brooklyn park, a block away from a federal prison where she is being held under harsh conditions.
“She (Dr. Siddiqui) should be transferred to Bellevue hospital for urgent medical and psychological treatment,” the lawyer added.
Ms. Fink expressed her outrage that even after a court ordered medical examination, Dr. Siddiqui, despite her life-threatening condition, did not receive the recommended treatment. She described the U.S. authorities’ indifference towards her client as “cruel and inhuman” and in violation of American laws.
She also said that the U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia (the prosecutor) informed her through a letter on Friday that an 11-year-old boy detained along with Dr. Siddiqui appears to be the Pakistani woman’s son.
Unlike Dr. Siddiqui, who is being held in the Metropolitan Detention Centre, the boy is in the custody of Afghan authorities, Ms. Fink said, adding that the child, who appeared confused, has been interrogated by FBI agents several times.
According to the letter, she said, the results of a DNA test showed the boy’s DNA “was consistent with that of a potential offspring of Aafia Siddiqui.”
More tests are being done, the letter said, and they should be completed this week. U.S. authorities also compared a passport photo of Dr. Siddiqui’s son, Mohammed Ahmed, to the boy held in Afghanistan and believed they appeared to be the same person. He was born in Boston and was therefore an American citizen, it said.
“The child is an American citizen, he is not a Pakistani citizen,” Ms. Fink said. She said the State Department should collect the child from the Afghan authorities.
Both the boy and Dr. Siddiqui, a 36-year-old MIT-trained behavioural neuroscientist, were picked up by Afghan National Police earlier this month. When she was apprehended, the prosecution claimed Dr. Siddiqui had in her possession maps of New York, a list of potential targets that included the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, and detailed chemical, biological and radiological weapon information that has been seen only in a handful of terrorist cases.
Ms. Fink’s press conference was organized by the Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Defence Committee. Ryan Hancock, a Philadelphia-based civil rights attorney and spokesman for the committee, said his group was a loose-knit collection of civil rights attorneys and Pakistani-Americans who believe the United States’ case against Dr. Siddiqui is purely political.
Pakistani activists, carrying placards demanding justice and release of Dr. Siddiqui, arrayed behind Ms. Fink as she welcomed the proposed visit of Pakistani parliamentarians to meet their incarcerated compatriot. Pressure by the government of Pakistan would also help, she said, adding that she favoured Dr. Siddiqui’s repatriation to Pakistan.
Salim Rizi, a Pakistani-American lawyer who is a member of the defence team, said they were doing everything possible so that Dr. Siddiqui’s trial is fair as also to ensure that she gets proper medical treatment.
The activists were led by Shahid Comrade, General Secretary of the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum.
Ms. Fink voiced her deep concern over the medical condition of Dr. Siddiqui, who was shot twice in the stomach when she was arrested by U.S. authorities, after she allegedly attempted to kill American personnel using a guard’s rifle.
Ms. Siddiqui has recently refused to meet with her lawyers, Ms. Fink said, because the prison which holds her changed its policy and now requires Ms. Siddiqui to undergo a full strip search before meeting visitors. The abdominal wound and other health problems recently observed during a medical examination make it too painful for Siddiqui to undergo an invasive full-body search, Ms. Fink said, calling the procedure “dehumanizing and degrading.”.
At a recent court appearance, Siddiqui was hunched over in a wheelchair, obviously in pain. Her bail hearing is scheduled for September 3, when she is expected to be indicted.
Asked whether the U.S. government would bring more charges against her as reported in the press, Ms. Fink said the defence lawyers have not been provided any information. But she said if more charges were brought, she would deal with them.
The lawyer declined to talk about the whereabouts of Dr. Siddiqui after her disappearance from Pakistan in 2003 and until her arrest in Afghanistan on July 18, saying, “She has been through a living hell.”
“She has been significantly traumatized and she needs immediate help,” Ms. Fink added.