Unlikely to be believed by many in Pakistan or the wider Muslim world, but the U.S. Embassy tries anyway, issuing this statement unequivocally denying that the U.S. had previously detained Siddiqui:
"We at the US Embassy Islamabad have read with increasing concern a number of erroneous and irresponsible media reports regarding the arrest of Ms Aafia Siddiqui."
"We commend the majority of Pakistani journalists for their accurate and balanced reporting and overall professionalism. Sadly, however, a few have allowed rumour, innuendo, and grossly unsubstantiated allegations to dominate their coverage."
"Unfortunately, there are some who have an interest in simply distorting the facts in an effort to manipulate and inflame public opinion. The truth is never served by sensationalism; we believe your readers, as fair-minded and critical thinkers, deserve better."
"Therefore, it’s high time that we set the record straight."
Allegations that Ms Siddiqui has been in custody at the Bagram Theatre Internment Facility in Afghanistan are completely erroneous. Ms Siddiqui was not in the custody of the United States — either at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base or anywhere else — at any time prior to her detention by Afghan police on July 17, 2008. The United States did not have knowledge of her whereabouts until she was detained by Afghan police on July 17, 2008.
Ms Siddiqui is accused of seizing a weapon and firing — unprovoked — on US personnel during questioning. She sustained non-life threatening injuries, received prompt medical attention, and is expected to fully recover. At no time was Ms Siddiqui mistreated or abused in any manner whatsoever.
There was absolutely no reward or “bounty” paid by the United States for the capture of Ms Siddiqui.
The United States has no definitive knowledge as to the whereabouts of Ms. Siddiqui’s children.
While in the custody of the United States, consular authorities of the Government of Pakistan have standard consular access to her under the terms of the Vienna Convention. Pakistani Embassy officials visited Ms Siddiqui on August 9.
Upon her arrival in the United States, a criminal action was initiated against Ms Siddiqui. She is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York with one count of attempting to kill United States officers and employees and one count of assaulting United States officers and employees. If convicted, Ms Siddiqui faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge.
The US justice system is based on the abiding principle that defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Ms Siddiqui will receive a fair and public trial and will be afforded every opportunity to present her defence.
"We would encourage your readers to remain open-minded but sceptical of these current — and any future — sensational allegations that have no basis in fact."
ANNE W PATTERSON
US Ambassador to Pakistan, Embassy of the United States of America
Source: Letter published in Daily Times
Meanwhile, an editorial in Arab News isn't buying it:
"As cock-and-bull stories go, this doubtless takes the cake. The Afghan and US officials peddling this incredible yarn could have at least employed more imagination and ingenuity. How do they expect the world to buy this bunkum?"
Indeed, the whole story seems far-fetched. Which tends to support Miss Kelly's theory that Ms. Siddiqui and Al Qaeda planned her "capture." Who carries around all of the following, as listed in the DOJ complaint?:
"...ANP officers searched her handbag and found numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, chemical weapons, and other weapons involving biological material and radiological agents. SIDDIQUI's papers included descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City. In addition, among SIDDIQUI's personal effects were documents detailing United States military assets, excerpts from the Anarchist's Arsenal, and a one gigabyte (1 gb) digital media storage device (thumb drive)....d. SIDDIQUI was also in possession of numerous chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars."
That little lady must have been carrying a ginormous handbag. Why carry around info on New York landmarks when you're supposedly planning an attack in Afghanistan?
Meanwhile, Aafia's sister Fouzia is claiming that the U.S. is trying to kill her, her sister Aafia's kidneys aren't working, and "her sister's only mistake was that she wore a head scarf and offered prayers five times a day and the US did not like it." Fouzia is capitalizing on the rumor that the U.S. has removed Aafia Siddiqui's kidneys. Google "aafia kidney removed" and see how widespread this rumor is. Ms. Patterson needs to do more than issue one press statement.