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Friday, February 23, 2024  
12 Shaban 1445  

US prison refuses to allow meeting with Aafia Siddiqui citing ‘lost keys’

It was to be her second meeting with family in 20 years
File photo
File photo

A United States prison refused to allow Dr Fowzia Siddiqui a meeting with her imprisoned sister Aafia Siddiqui saying that keys to the meeting room had been ‘lost’.

Dr Fowzia is reportedly in the US along with Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam leader Talha Mahmood and British-American lawyer Clive Stafford Smith to meet her incarcerated sister.

However, Carswell authorities told Dr Fowzia on Saturday that the meeting could not take place as they had lost the keys to the visitation cell.

Stafford posted a photo of Dr Fowzia outside the prison for a meeting on X.

He added that the sisters’ meeting was supposed to be their second in 20 years.

Jamat-e-Islami’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmad said that the excuse used by the prison authorities was ‘comical’. He added that he condemned the ‘inhumane’ attitude of the jail officials.

Aafia Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Texas, a prison facility for females.

She had met her sister for the first time earlier this year after 20 years.

Who is Dr Aafia Siddiqui?

Siddiqui is a graduate of MIT in cognitive neuroscience and she belonged to a middle-class family who has strong faith in Islam and education, according to a report of The Guardian.

The report further said during her stay in the United States she campaigned for Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya, especially against the killing of pregnant women. It read: “She wrote emails, held fundraisers and made forceful speeches at local mosque during the stay.”

The controversy against the Pakistani neuroscientist surfaced after 9/11 when the FBI questioned her and her husband, Amjad Khan, a young Karachi doctor, in May 2002 about an unusual purchase of $10,000.

She returned back to the US in 2002 after the couple divorced and stayed there for 10 days. Later she married Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in Karachi.

Siddiqui vanished in 2003 after FBI issued a global alert for her and Khan. According to The Guardian, the reports confirmed that she was picked by the Pakistani intelligence agency at the “behest of the CIA”. Meanwhile, Khan was interviewed by the Pakistani FBI and released him.

The US government had said that Siddiqui was arrested from Afghanistan after she fired upon a team of US soldiers. However, Amnesty International has maintained that she was arrested from Afghanistan.

Later American media reports confirmed that her name was given by Mohammad, the 9/11 instigator, under duress. According to the US government, Siddiqui was at large, plotting mayhem on behalf of Osama bin Laden.

In May 2004 the then US attorney general, listed her among the seven “most wanted” al-Qaida fugitives.

He described Siddiqui as a terrorist “facilitator” who was willing to use her education against America, read the report. However, the neuroscientist’s family narrates a different story, saying Siddiqui spent the missing five years at Bagram detention centre in Kabul, where she suffered “unspeakable horrors”.

In 2008, a New York federal district court indicted Siddiqui on charges of attempted murder and assault, during an investigation with the US authorities in Ghazni, a city of Afghanistan. She denied the charges but was later sentenced to 86 years in prison.

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