The Why Aafia Campaign is a project that represents Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Our mission is to build a movement to one day see Dr. Aafia released from prison.
- Read Time: 1 min
Resource Guide to Correct Misinformation About Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the Media and Public
This resource aims to provide media outlets and the public with more information on the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Since the horrific hostage situation at Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, there has been a considerable increase in attention given to Dr. Siddiqui's case. Media outlets have an ethical responsibility not to omit critical information and facts to have their coverage be fairer and more balanced to educate and inform the public. That has not been the case over the last several days, and this resource guide hopes to provide media outlets and the public with more facts.
This Resource Guide Covers the Following Topics:
- Pg 1: Referring to Dr. Siddiqui as "Lady Al-Qaeda"
- Pg. 1: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Kidnapping in Pakistan & Disappearance for 5-years
- Pg. 2: Ghazani Afghanistan and Alleged Shooting of U.S. Soldiers: Did Dr. Siddiqui Try to Kill U.S. Soldiers?
- Pg. 3: Dr. Siddiqui's Mental Health & Her Trial
- Pg. 4: Charges of Antisemitism Against Dr. Siddiqui
- Pg. 4: The 86-Year Sentence at the Sole Discretion of U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman
- Pg. 4: The Mainstream Movement to Free Dr. Siddiqui
- Pg. 5: Terrorist Organizations Such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS calling for the release of Dr. Siddiqui
- Pg. 5: Dr. Siddiqui's family and children today
- Pg. 5: Dr. Siddiqui's Attack at FMC Carswell
Referring to Dr. Siddiqui as "Lady Al-Qaeda":
- Dr. Siddiqui was never charged or convicted of terrorism.
- At her trial, no terrorist organizations were mentioned.
- In fact, during Dr. Siddiqui's trial, U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman barred any discussion of what occurred to Dr. Siddiqui from 2003, when she was kidnapped in Pakistan along with her children, and 2008 when she allegedly shot at U.S. soldiers as being "off-limits." Her sole charges were related to July 18, 2008, in Ghazani, Afghanistan.
- The Seeking Information Alert for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui stated, "no information indicating this individual is connected to specific terrorist activities, the FBI would like to locate and question this individual".
- There was no red notice issued for her immediate arrest by Interpol, but rather a blue notice that she was wanted for questioning.
- The first reference to Dr. Siddiqui as "Lady Al-Qaeda" came from tabloid newspapers in New York when Dr. Siddiqui was renditioned to the U.S. despite never being charged or having any direct, provable links to Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organization, this tabloid introduced title has stuck and continues to be used by mainstream news outlets today.
Dr. Siddiqui Kidnapping in Pakistan & Disappearance for 5-years:
- In March of 2003, Dr. Siddiqui, her three children, Mohammed 7-years-old, Mariam 5-years-old, and Suleman, 6-month-old were arrested by Pakistan's Intelligence Agency ISI and CIA in Karachi while on their way to the airport to visit her uncle in Islamabad.
- Evidence of Arrest by ISI and CIA:
- FBI-Wanted Flyer of Pakistani Woman Detained Dated 03-31-2003
- Transcript of April 21, 2003, NBC Nightly News Report
- Newsweek, "Al-Qaeda in America: The Enemy Within" 6-22-2003. "Siddiqui fled to Pakistan, where she was reportedly arrested."
- DAWN – May 29, 2004, Pakistan Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed that Aafia Siddiqui "was handed over to the U.S. last year."
- "I spoke to an investigative reporter for the Washington Post who informed me that she had reliable sources in both the American and Pakistani government who have verified that Dr. Siddiqui was taken into custody by Pakistani military intelligence in 2003. According to her sources, Dr. Siddiqui was then transferred to CIA custody where she was held in rendition for the last five years with at least one if not two of her children." Elizabeth Fink Letter to the Court, Case 1:06-cr-00826-RMB, Doc. 10, September 2, 2008.
- Listed as a potential victim of CIA imprisonment: Amnesty International September 2006and Center For Human Rights and Global Justice, Fate and whereabouts unknown: Detainees in the" war on terror", New York University School of Law, December 2005.
- Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan from 2002-2007, Khurshid Kasuri in a 2012 Tweet: "#Pakistan, I'm so sorry for handing over the innocent @DrAafiaSiddiqui to the Americans. It was my biggest mistake ever! #PTI @PTIofficial."
- Multiple news outlets report that Dr. Siddiqui was arrested and in custody in Pakistan in 2003. This kidnapping by authorities is the start of Dr. Siddiqui's 5-year disappearance. During the height of the so-called 'war on terror,' it is implausible that authorities would release someone suspected of having links to terrorist organizations after having the individual in their custody. Around this time, thousands of innocent people were arrested with little to no evidence of any connection to terrorist organizations and held in perpetuity at black sites overseas or in Guantanamo Bay. They suffered torture, humiliation, physical and psychological abuse in these sites. Nearly all people detained at these sites never had any charges brought against them.
Ghazani Afghanistan and Alleged Shooting of U.S. Soldiers: Did Dr. Siddiqui Try to Kill U.S. Soldiers?
- On July 17, 2008, Dr. Siddiqui, disheveled and emaciated, and her eldest son reappeared in the U.S. occupied Afghanistan, in a city called Ghazani located 120 miles from Bagram, Afghanistan.
- Dr. Siddiqui did not speak the local language and was not dressed in the local clothing of the city. She stuck out.
- Dr. Siddiqui heard the call for the Muslim prayer and went to a local Masjid to perform that prayer. A woman praying at an Afghan Masjid shocked the locals. The locals called the Police, who arrested Dr. Siddiqui.
- Dr. Siddiqui and her son were taken to the Ghazani Police station.
- Dr. Siddiqui was placed in a room uncuffed as she was not viewed as a threat by the Afghans and was sitting on a bed behind a yellow curtain.
- On July 18, 2008, four U.S. soldiers and two FBI interrogators entered the room. They did not know that Dr. Siddiqui was sitting behind the curtain.
- One of the U.S. soldiers allegedly put down his fully loaded M-4 rifle next to the curtain out of what he described as "Respect for the Afghan Culture."
- It is alleged that Dr. Siddiqui, who was 90 lbs. and 5'2" at the time, picked up the M-4 rifle, turned off the safety, raised the weapon, and managed to fire off two rounds at U.S. soldiers before an Afghan interpreter wrestled her for the weapon. While wrestling with her, another soldier shot her multiple times in the stomach.
- No physical evidence was presented in court that shows Dr. Siddiqui ever touched the M-4 rifle. Her fingerprints were not on the weapon, no gunshot residue was on her person or clothing, no shell casings were found, no bullet holes were found, and no one was shot or injured in the small room filled with people. Dr. Siddiqui was the only one injured that day.
- According to Dr. Siddiqui, the soldiers were startled when she appeared behind the curtain; they yelled "prisoner loose" and shot her.
- All witnesses to the shooting gave differing, contradictory accounts of what transpired.
- Question: How did Dr. Siddiqui and her son, who didn't speak the local language and were not dressed in the local clothing, manage to make their way to Ghazani, Afghanistan?
Dr. Siddiqui's Mental Health & Her Trial:
- On August 4, 2008, Dr. Siddiqui, a citizen of Pakistan who allegedly committed a crime on Afghan soil, was renditioned to the United States with severe gunshot wounds.
- Dr. Siddiqui was initially deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial by the medical examiner on November 6, 2008.
- Later, that initial determination was overturned, and she was forced to stand trial.
- During Dr. Siddiqui's trial, she displayed clear signs of severe mental health problems and outbursts, making statements such as:
- "Counsel visits are torture for me. If you could stop those, please, I'd appreciate it."
- "I would like to make the point that I have boycotted this trial. It's an international crime. It's against international law."
- "I want to make peace and the Americans."
- "I'm only quiet because I don't agree with all of this. It's lies, hypocrisy, and injustice. I'm just here because I am forced to be here, and I relieve the defense once again from doing whatever they are doing."
- "Before we begin, I, please, want to let you know I have information about a group that is planning attacks more than 9/11 –.. before this trial ends. So as soon as they want to medicate me so I can't talk, I want to help the President nab this group to finish them and I can do that. So please let this be known in public. This is the only opportunity I have to say this. I am not lying. I swear by God. If I am lying or misleading, may the curse of God be on me? What can I say? But don't take this lightly. They are domestic U.S. groups. They are not Muslims."
- "Just to add to what I said. The press has to talk to me. I can't work with the agencies, as I have been trying, and this is the last opportunity I have. Once I'm sentenced -- and that's what they want to do. It's important. Please don't ignore me for the sake of God and this beautiful country.
- "They have some stuff here in court, but they also hide it, and then one Sentence here and there out of context, that is not fair. And just blame and label, and blame and label, that's all they've been doing, poisoning the jury, poisoning the staff. OK, OK. Ask them to make what I wrote public, and then I want the American public to decide who is what, but this is a whole drama. In fact, the poor soldier, I feel sorry for him –"
- It Got So Bad the Judge Said: "Although, I think it is difficult sometimes, and I may also have to make some verbal statements and comment to control the courtroomand the proceedings, if as and when I determine that Siddiqui should be excused from these courtroomproceedings and that in particular would include either if she waives her right to be here or further outbursts."
- Question: Why did the United States force an individual with obvious mental health problems that were repeatedly displayed in multiple outbursts to stand trial?
- Question: What happened to Dr. Siddiqui from 2003 to 2008? How did a high-performing student who received her master's from MIT and PhD. from Brandies University deteriorate to such an extent? Dr. Siddiqui was married and raising 3-children and showed no signs of mental impairment to deteriorate to such a state within 5-years? What emotional, physical, and mental trauma occurred during that time? Why did the judge bar that from the trial?
Charges of Antisemitism Against Dr. Siddiqui:
- During her trial, Dr. Siddiqui made antisemitic statements, including calling on jurors to get DNA testing and trying to fire her lawyers because of their Jewish background.
- It is important to remember that Dr. Siddiqui was suffering from and continues to suffer from mental health problems when renditioned to the U.S., forced to stand trial, and to this day. These outbursts are of a woman with severe mental health issues on full display in the courtroom. Dr. Siddiqui made these antisemitic and other statements when she was mentally impaired and should be understood in the larger context of her overall mental health.
- Antisemitism is a serious and growing problem in America and around the world.
- Dr. Siddiqui is currently held at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas. Why this facility and not another woman's prison? It's because she continues to suffer from severe mental health problems because of her 5-years of captivity.
- It is important to note that Dr. Siddiqui lived in the U.S. for nearly a decade. Brandies University, where she received her Ph.D., has a Jewish population of almost 44%. However, no evidence has been reported that Dr. Siddiqui espoused any antisemitic beliefs during these ten-plus years.
- Dr. Siddiqui, through her attorney, has rejected any hatred against any groups of people. When questioned about these antisemitic and other outbursts during her trial, Dr. Siddiqui rejects those statements.
The 86-Year Sentence at the Sole Discretion of U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman:
- Dr. Siddiqui was found guilty on all counts after her trial.
- Dr. Siddiqui's defense team was calling for a 12-year prison sentence.
- At the complete discretion of Judge Berman, he took each of the convictions and maxed them out. Judge Berman added a "terrorism enhancement" at his sole discretion despite no terrorist links being made during the trial. At his sole discretion, he had the Sentence run consecutively, which added up to essentially death behind bars, a sentence of 86-years in federal prison.
- Activists and supporters of Dr. Siddiqui believe this astronomical Sentence is unjust as no one was injured in the Ghazni incident other than Dr. Siddiqui. Along with the fact that no material evidence was presented that Dr. Siddiqui ever shot an M-4 rifle.
The Mainstream Movement to Free Dr. Siddiqui:
- Today, tens of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world support the release of Dr. Siddiqui.
- The Pakistani cabinet has passed several resolutions and declared Dr. Siddiqui, the "daughter of the nation."
- Every Pakistani Prime Minister, including Pervez Musharraf, under whom Dr. Siddiqui was arrested and disappeared, have either apologized for, or supported Dr. Siddiqui.
- Hundreds of informal community and social media groups advocate for Dr. Siddiqui worldwide.
- Dozens of civil and human rights organizations in the U.S. and worldwide continue to support Dr. Siddiqui's case, call attention to its implication during the war on terror, and question what occurred from 2003 to 2008.
- The voices calling for the release of Dr. Siddiqui and a revaluation of her case and the evidence are mainstream.
Terrorist Organizations Such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS calling for the release of Dr. Siddiqui:
- Terrorist organizations, by their nature, are driven to mainstream themselves. That is how they gain legitimacy, new recruitments, and funding. It is no wonder that Al-Qaeda and ISIS would exploit the legitimate mainstream concerns and emotional attachment by millions of people worldwide to Dr. Siddiqui for their political gains.
- News outlets routinely refer to Dr. Siddiqui as Lady Al-Qaeda. Since Dr. Siddiqui was never charged with or convicted of terrorism or had any provable fact-based linking her to any terrorist organizations, they are forced to bring up prisoner exchanges pursued by Al-Qaeda and ISIS. It is true that these terrorist organizations have tried to and continue to gain legitimacy by exploiting the case of Dr. Siddiqui. For news outlets to aid and abet these terrorist organizations by making that link is reprehensible and unethical.
Dr. Siddiqui's Family and Children Today:
- Since being renditioned to the U.S., Dr. Siddiqui has not seen or communicated with her children.
- Her youngest child, Suleiman, has not reappeared and is believed to be deceased.
- Dr. Siddiqui's mother was seriously ill, and a few days before the hostage situation collapsed in Pakistan. She is on a ventilator and may not survive much longer.
- Advocates for Dr. Siddiqui call for her to be deported to Pakistan as she is a Pakistani national to be near her family.
Dr. Siddiqui's Attack at FMC Carswell:
- FMC Carswell has proven it is unable to keep Dr. Siddiqui safe.
- On July 30, 2021, Dr. Siddiqui was brutally attacked by another inmate while in her cell. She suffered burns around her face and bruises on her body.
- After the attack, Dr. Siddiqui and her attacker were put into solitary confinement. Why was Dr. Siddiqui put into solitary confinement for nearly 60-days despite being in her cell, not instigating the fight, and being the victim? Long-term solitary confinement had a devastating impact on Dr. Siddiqui's mental health. Which since has been improved when returned to the general population.
- Activists believe FMC Carswell and the United States government have proven they cannot keep Dr. Siddiqui safe. That is why they continue their calls to deport Dr. Siddiqui to her native national country of Pakistan to serve out her remaining Sentence.