February 1, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which is expected to end today, in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.
Tina M. Foster, Executive Director the International Justice Network , and spokesperson for Muhammad Siddiqui, Aafia’s brother, issued the following statement today on behalf of her U.S.-based family:
After nearly two weeks of proceedings, and more than a dozen different witness testimonies, our sister's trial will finally come to an end today. While the sheer lack of evidence presented by the U.S. government in this case is reason enough to expect acquittal, Aafia's own testimony eliminates any doubt that she did not commit the crimes alleged.
We hope that the jury will not be prejudiced by the prosecution's repeated attempts to falsely portray our sister as a terrorist. While on the witness stand last Thursday, Aafia herself told prosecutors "Don't build a case on hate, build a case on facts." We are confident that if the jury considers only the evidence in this case, Aafia will not be convicted of any crime.
January 29, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.
Tina M. Foster, Executive Director the International Justice Network and spokesperson for Muhammad Siddiqui, Aafia’s brother, issued the following statement today on behalf of her U.S.-based family:
On Friday, an Afghan police officer, Mr. Bashir, testified that he saw an American officer walk behind the curtain just before he heard gun shots, and that he never saw Dr. Siddiqui pick up a gun. The defense then rested, and the prosecution offered rebuttal witnesses, intended to respond to the evidence presented by the defense. First, the prosecution called a firing range owner, Gary Woodworth, who testified that he remembered Dr. Siddiqui coming to the shooting range. However, Mr. Woodworth also admitted that there were no records of Dr. Siddiqui ever having visited the shooting range, and that even if she had, it could have been as part of her physical education requirements at MIT. The prosecution also called FBI Special Agent Bruce Kammerman, who testified that while recuperating at Bagram Airbase hospital, Dr. Siddiqui had told him that she had picked up the gun because she wanted to scare people in order to ease her escape. However, on cross-examination, Agent Kammerman admitted that his original handwritten notes about the conversation did not mention anything about a gun, but only Dr. Siddiqui's desire to escape, and that the reference to the gun was added only in the final typed report. The prosecution completed its questioning of another FBI agent who interviewed Dr. Siddiqui while in the hospital, Angela Sercer, and the defense's cross examination of Agent Sercer will begin on Monday. The trial proceedings may end as early as Monday afternoon, with jury deliberations to begin immediately thereafter.
January 28, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.
Thursday marked a turning point in the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who decided to take the witness stand in her own defense. She declared under oath for the first time that she "was tortured in a secret prison" and that her missing children are all that has been on her mind every day. Dr. Siddiqui denied ever having shot at anyone, and appeared to remain unshaken even under intense cross-examination by the prosecution. She explained that she was shot by US soldiers while attempting to peek around the curtain partition in the interrogation room, while looking for a way to escape. Before her testimony was cut short by the Judge, Dr. Siddiqui mentioned that her fear of being sent back to a secret prison had made her anxious to escape.
January 27, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.
Today Bill Tobin, the expert witness called by the defense, testified that the holes in the wall, which the prosecution purports to be the place of impact of the shots, could not have been caused by the high-velocity M4 rifle that Dr. Siddiqui allegedly shot. The damage caused by bullets fired from an M4, regardless of the angle of trajectory, would be far larger than the holes shown in the wall where the incident occurred. The damage would have been different in size, shape, and impact. Mr. Tobin also stated that, if an M4 had been fired, gun shot residue should have been found on the curtain. In todays testimony, expert Tobin stated that he was absolutely positive, to a degree of scientific certainity, that the holes were not caused by the M4 rifle allegedly shot by Dr. Siddiqui. The defense then offered a video-taped deposition of an Afghan police officer who witnessed the incedent. The witness, Mr. Abdul Qadir, testified that he and other Afghan police officers beat Dr. Siddiqui shortly before the incident. He also testified that Dr. Siddiqui tried to escape by throwing herself from a second story window. Tomorrow, the defense will complete the presentation of it's case and the judge will rule on whether Dr. Siddiqui will testify.
January 26, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.
The prosecution's case further unraveled today when US Army Sergeant Lamont Williams testified that the female army medic who treated Aafia wasn't in the room when the alleged incident occurred. This directly contradicted the medic's own testimony yesterday, in which she claimed to be in the room and witnessed Aafia holding the M4 rifle. The prosecution is expected to rest by tomorrow afternoon, and the defense will likely call their first witness.
January 25, 2010, New York, NY – International Justice Network attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, which began on January 19, and continues this week in U.S. Federal Court in the Southern District of New York. Tina M. Foster, Executive Director the International Justice Network and spokesperson for Muhammad Siddiqui, Aafia’s brother, issued the following statement today on behalf of her U.S.-based family:
The female medic who was present and treated Aafia after the shooting incident took the stand. Her testimony directly contradicted that of prior witnesses who placed the M4 rifle and relevant witnesses at differing locations at the scene. Next, the US Warrant Officer who shot Aafia took the stand -- but was unable to explain statements he gave to the FBI regarding the incident which significantly differed from his testimony at trial. To date, no two prosecution witnesses have provided a consistent account of the shooting incident.
Given what we have observed during the trial, we are very concerned about our sister Aafia's emotional and physical health. It is clear to us that she is extremely depressed, and her outbursts in the courtroom reveal that she has been traumatized by her past ordeal and current treatment. She, like the rest of our family, continues to be distraught over the safety of her two young children who have been kidnapped and missing since her initial arrest. The Aafia whom we see in this courtroom now, is not the same rational and focused Aafia who we know and love. It is clear to us that her frail emotional condition is deteriorating due to the pressure of humiliating daily strip searches that she must submit to daily, in order to attend the trial she does not want to attend. She has repeatedly asked to remain in her cell during the trial proceedings, a request which the judge continues to deny. Despite the fact that both the prosecution and the defense agree that Dr. Aafia need not be physically present, today, once again, the judge forced her to attend court. When the US government agent that shot her was called to the courtroom, our sister became upset and once again was ordered to be removed from the courtroom. All of this is happening in front of the jury who will decide her fate. We ask Judge Berman to have mercy on our sister, who has been through enough pain, suffering, and indignities throughout the past year and half while in US custody. She should not be continually forced to attend against her will, only to be upset by the proceedings and thrown out each day in the presence of the jury which will compromise her ability to receive a fair trial.
January 20, 2010, New York, NY – The International Justice Network, the human rights organization representing detainees held without charge by the United States at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, issued the following statement today on behalf of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s family in the United States. IJN attorneys have been monitoring the trial of Dr. Siddiqui, which began this week in U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. Tina M. Foster, Executive Director of the International Justice Network and spokesperson for Muhammad Siddiqui, Aafia’s brother, stated on his behalf:Our sister, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, is on trial for allegedly grabbing a U.S. Warrant Officer's rifle and firing it at FBI agents and military personnel while she was detained for questioning in Afghanistan. The only individual injured in the alleged incident was Aafia, who was shot in the abdomen. Aafia is not on trial for terrorism, nor has she ever been charged with any crime relating to terrorism. In fact, the prosecution has admitted that there is no link between Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the terrorist network al-Qaeda. In reality, Aafia is a victim of the United States’ illegal detention and torture program. Numerous accounts document that she was held in secret prisons for five years, where she witnessed and suffered torture at the hands of her captors. In this trial we have seen a clear pattern of inconsistencies in the prosecution's story. It simply does not add up. Witnesses, including high-ranking FBI and Army personnel have been unable to give a coherent and consistent account of the alleged incident. Under cross examination, FBI Agent John Jefferson admitted that he did not see Aafia ever touch a weapon. Moreover, the prosecution's story fails to address the larger questions in this case. Who kidnapped Aafia and her children? How was her mental health affected by watching her children be ripped away? Where are her children Mariam and Sulieman now? And what happened to Aafia in the five years leading up to the incident that left her shot, wounded, and on trial for her life in the United States?
We were reminded again today that the evidence shows that only one shooting is definitive—that is the shooting of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Today’s testimony again confirmed that the only bullets and casings found at the scene of the crime were from the handgun used by the Chief Warrant Officer.
We learned today that there is no evidence whatsoever that a bullet hit, penetrated, or ricocheted off the wall where the prosecution claims Dr. Aafia fired an M4 rifle. While the FBI Agent who investigated the crime scene attempted to explain the lack of evidence by claiming that bullets can fragment, during cross-examination, he admitted that the steel tip of the bullet that should have been found would have remained intact. Had a bullet penetrated the wall, it would have most likely remained in the wall. Yet, upon examination of the wall, absolutely no evidence was found that would suggest that a bullet penetrated the wall. In addition, according to the witness, had a bullet ricocheted off the wall, it most likely would have penetrated the cloth ceiling in the room. Yet, there was absolutely no damage to the ceiling. Moreover, the witness testified that no gun shot residue was found on the curtain, which was allegedly within six inches of the M4 when it was fired.
Tina Monshipour Foster
International Justice Network
In both the testimony of FBI Agent Fife, and FBI Agent Hurly, we heard how very important and potentially exculpatory evidence was destroyed and/or excluded from their investigation. The government failed to properly secure the gun and all of its parts, the crime scene, and the partial fingerprints pulled from the weapon. Despite the clear import of this case (as evidenced by President Karazi’s involvement), FBI Agent Hurley told us that the investigation did not even begin until one week had passed. Moreover, the investigation itself was anything but unbiased. Those directly involved in the shooting of Dr. Siddiqui were responsible for guiding the investigation of the crime scene. With respect to the metal detectors and identity screening taking place at the trial, this is just one of the numerous steps that the government has taken to create an environment of fear and intimidation. Not only do the metal detectors and identity screening unfairly prejudice the jury, they are also a violation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s right to a fair and open trial and discourage certain segments of the public from attending the proceedings. Again, this is a trial for simple attempted assault. Dr. Siddiqui has not been charged with any crime relating to terrorism. Tina Monshipour Foster
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