Pretty good summary of the strange case of Aafia Siddiqui, from Declan Walsh of the Guardian. Siddiqui, former student at Brandeis and MIT in the 1990's, was picked up in Afghanistan in July 2008, and she's been in U.S. custody ever since. But where was she between 2003 and 2008? Walsh interviews three people who ought to know something: Aafi'a sister Fowzia, her ex-husband Amjad Khan and her uncle Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi. According to Siddiqui's sister and British journalist/radical Muslim Yvonne Ridley, Aafia was kept at the Bagram detention center. Ridley and other Islamist organizations (Caged Prisoners) are getting lots of mileage with their utterly unsubstantiated story that Aafia was the "Grey Lady of Bagram," keeping other prisoners awake with her cries. The U.S. begs to differ with Ridley's story:
"...every major security agency of the US government – army, FBI, CIA – denies having held her. Last year the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, went even further. She stated that Siddiqui was not in US custody 'at any time' prior to July 2008."
Aafia's ex-husband tells a different story:
"The truth of the matter, he (Khan) said, was that Siddiqui had never been sent to Bagram. Instead she spent the five years on the run, living clandestinely with her three children, under the watchful eye of Pakistani intelligence. He told me they shifted between Quetta in Baluchistan province, Iran and the Karachi house I had visited earlier that day."
"...Khan's explanation is bolstered by the one person who claims to have met the missing neuroscientist between 2003 and 2008 – her uncle, Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi."
I've read two versions of what happened to Aafia by her uncle Faruqi, and they don't quite match up either. This mystery doesn't seem to clear up, it only becomes murkier.
Aafia seems to have her wits about her and is in fact quite feisty these days. She is apparently not fond of Jewish people:
"During a typically stormy hearing last Thursday, Siddiqui interrupted the judge, rebuked her own lawyers and made strident appeals to the packed courthouse. 'I am boycotting this trial,' she declared. I am innocent of all the charges and I can prove it, but I will not do it in this court.' Previously she had tried to fire her lawyers due to their Jewish background (she once wrote to the court that Jews are 'cruel, ungrateful, back-stabbing' people) and demanded to speak with President Obama for the purpose of 'making peace' with the Taliban. This time, though, she was ejected from the courtroom for obstruction. 'Take me out. I'm not coming back,' she said defiantly."
Aafia Siddiqi's trial for attempted murder of a U.S. soldier in an Afghan police station is slated to start in Janaury 2010 in New York. Much remains mysterious in this case:
"And so the big questions may not be probed: whether the ISI or CIA abducted Siddiqui in 2003, what she did afterwards, and where her two missing children are now. In fact the framing of the charges raises a new question: if Siddiqui was such a dangerous terrorist five years ago, why is she not being charged as one now?"
Very informative article, read the whole thing!