Dr Afia needs justice which is seen to be done: Barrister Amjad Malik

Barrister Amjad Malik, Chairman (APL) an Association of Pakistani origin Solicitors, Barristers, Judges and ex pat members has taken a serious note of recent conviction of Dr. Afia Siddiqui of 3 February 2010 by Jury of 12 men at USA and has declared that this may result in a stumbling block between US-Pak people to people contact and relations between states. Dr Afia was kidnapped and kept at Bagram Airfield without the aid of a lawyer, doctor and or consulate access for years and being a Muslim women that has the potential to charge the mood of the public.

USA is already making efforts to bridge the gap between the people of Pakistan and US Administration and Dr. Afia’s conviction will wipe out all efforts and this decision seems to have dictated through fears than the facts and law. Dr Afia is demonised as ‘Al-Qaeda’ lady or in official circles as ‘the grey lady of Bagram’ without substance of her association or affiliation which in itself is a criminal offence, and under the circumstances may never get a fair trial from the jury due to 9/11 as in built prejudice against the perpetrators of the 9/11 makes it impossible to allow a fair hearing against any one who is alleged to be an associate. Though USA has failed to prove or at least bring it open the limits of her engagements.

Amjad Malik has said that as has been witnessed in UK that many convictions were overturned by the court of appeal considering it either excessive or on narrow interpretation, and or due to fear of miscarriage of justice, similarly we feel that common sense will prevail at higher court(s) at appeal where the conviction will be quashed. In principles of law Dr Afia should not have been at Bagram at first place, where she was detained as prisoner no.650 and there was no record, mention and or trial at a place of her kidnap, and or place of her first detention and there are allegation(s) of torture. Now either we know the half truth or the US authorities are concealing material facts from the court(s).

We all feel that Dr. Afia’s conviction of 3 February 2010 is a decision of a court of law of first instance which must be respected, though we all have disagreements on rational reasons with the judgements as is in any society, and that’s why we have appeal system. US system of justice is able to dispense justice and Dr Afia Siddiqui needs justice which must be seen to be done and no better but through US courts which must show its muscles and allow her a fair hearing on appeal meeting the norms of the Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 which allows any person to have a fair trial. If court decisions are allowed to be dictated by fears or through prejudices, then I am afraid the future of our multi religious & cultural societies is bleak and onus falls on American administration to either grant presidential pardon and release her to allow her to go home freely or USA’s criminal justice system who are at a crossroad to produce some tangible results in their system through its institutions assuring minority community, and looking at the case of Brown v Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954) where so rightly Supreme Court gave decision against segregation of white and Black children in the public state school solely on the basis of race because that segregation was against the principle of equal protection of law guaranteeing Fourteenth Amendment, at this juncture based on the past knowledge, I am sure, they can ensure justice with Muslim minorities in USA similarly as they did with the black minorities during the race war in the past, and they need to prove it by action(s) not words.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

21 Comments

Filed under Al Qaeda, human rights, Justice, Law, minorities, Pakistan, War On Terror

21 responses to “Dr Afia needs justice which is seen to be done: Barrister Amjad Malik

  1. UK lawyers have demanded withdrawal of Dr Afia’s Case declaring the conviction unsafe and has demanded for a public enquiry on Dr Afia’s treatment from US President

    APL ( Association of Pakistani Lawyers), a team of Pakistani origin lawyers, Solicitors, Barristers, Judges in UK, held an emergency session of its executive and in their 6 February 2010 communiqué addressed to Barrack Obama, The President of USA and Foreign Secretary, Senator Hillary Clinton Has demanded that Govt. of United States must consider withdrawing charges against Dr Afia Siddiqui and her repatriation to Pakistan forthwith.

    APL Chair, Barrister Amjad Malik referred to their earlier letter to President Obama where they welcomed his election and wrote “America needs to offer hope to the community of nation and revitalize its efforts to jointly consult with the world if it ever desire to come closer to victory on its drive against extremism. No doubt, 9/11 was the most tragic and most condemnable attack on civilization by criminals and proportionate use of force, revival of United Nations role, protecting the sovereignty of independent nations, joint intelligence sharing mechanism and collective wisdom is the key to defeat this menace”.

    He said , In this light of the above we have a cause to write to you on behalf of the Pakistani & Muslim community on the issue of Dr Afia Siddiqui’s Conviction which may result in a stumbling block between US-Pak people to people contact and relations between two states. Dr Afia was kidnapped and kept at Bagram Airfield without the aid of a lawyer, doctor and or consulate access for years and her being a female, Muslim women that has the potential to charge the mood of the public.

    Mr. Malik wrote, USA is already making efforts to bridge the gap between the people of Pakistan and US Administration and Dr. Afia’s conviction will wipe out all efforts and this decision seems to have dictated through fears than the facts and law. Dr Afia is demonized as ‘Al-Qaeda’ lady or in official circles as ‘the grey lady of Bagram’ without substance of her association or affiliation as Association with Al-Qaeda itself is a criminal offence and that avenue has not been pursued. Under the circumstances she may never get a fair trial from the jury due to 9/11 as in built prejudice against the perpetrators of the 9/11 makes it impossible to allow a fair hearing against anyone who is allegedly portrayed by media or through whisper campaign to be an associate of that outfit no matter how much it is denied. Though, we agree that USA has failed to prove or at least bring it open the limits of her engagements

    Chair of APL proposed 5 resolutions of demands:

    “Resolution of Demand:

    1. Govt of United States must consider withdrawing charges against Dr Afia Siddiqui and her repatriation to Pakistan forthwith; or

    2. Govt of United States must consider Presidential pardon for Dr Afia Siddiqui as she has been missing and or confined allegedly since 2003 and there is no account of her missing time in Bagram airfield and her conviction is unsafe considering the state of mind and or issues of serious allegation(s) of torture and maltreatment; or

    3. Govt of United States must consider appealing this decision as it is unsafe as post 9/11 putting people of New York in a position of jurors to find a question of guilty/not guilty of a person who is highly publicised as allegedly associated with internationally notorious outfit (AL-Qaeda) is unreasonable and rules of natural justice and norms of Art.6 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 has not been met. looking at the case of Brown v Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954) where so rightly Supreme Court gave decision against segregation of white and Black children in the public state school solely on the basis of race because that segregation was against the principle of equal protection of law guaranteeing Fourteenth Amendment, at this juncture based on the past knowledge, I am sure, USA can ensure justice with Muslim minorities (its a test case in that scenario); There is overwhelming evidence of making this conviction unsafe i.e lack of DNA / finger prints evidence of her linking to the rifle, her unlawful presence at Bagram as the account of her arrest is not credible, discrepancies between the accounts of Interpreter, and other two witnesses, and no empty shells of the bullets fired were presented at court all makes the conviction unsafe; and these questions must be put to rest which questions the prosperity of US criminal justice system to be fair to Muslims post 9/11 as is the case in UK where many convictions were overturned by superior courts declaring them unsafe and excessive;

    4. Govt of United States must consider prisoner exchange with the Govt of Pakistan as in the past many prisoners from Pakistan has been shifted to USA without judicial oversight, on the similar approach Dr Afia Siddiqui must be returned to Pakistan to remain in Pakistani custody whilst the issue of her case (withdrawal/appeal and or pardon) are considered at home in USA as she has already spent many years in confinement and her return would ease her sufferings and will avoid hampering United States effort to increase people to people contact and efforts to winning the hearts and minds of the Pakistani people.

    5. Govt of United States must consider setting up a commission to adjudicate the questions of true facts surrounding Dr Afia’s arrest, allegations of torture and mal treatment at Bagram airfield, and the issue of extra judicial and extra territorial confinement and imprisonment at Bagram where there are allegations that CIA paid huge monies to Pak officials for making successful arrests and Gen. Musharraf accepted that fact in his book, (in the line of fire). Dr Afia is a female, Muslim lady from Pakistan who is a highly educated (PhD from Brandeis University 2001) and has been either bought via CIA and or arrested in dubious circumstances at Pakistan and or Afghanistan; she has been strip searched, allegedly maltreated, interrogated mostly without lawyers , proper examination of a female doctor, and or consulate access at Afghanistan and has been shifted to USA without her consent. How come she was shown to be at Bagram in 2008 when people had knowledge of her whereabouts as prisoner no 650 prior to that date makes it desirable to settle the facts once for all to ease the people of Pakistan as this is the kind of material if remain uncertain acts as prima facie fodder for radicalisation which needs to be put at rest through proper enquiry. Incidents like Abu Gharib force APL to say that the allegation of such nature may not be easily refuted without an independent oversight or an enquiry”.

    “We hope our representations are given due weight in the interest of public in order to promote rule of law, justice and true accountability of the forces and in order to fill the gaps between ancient civilizations who are at a crossroad to mend fences and be friends”, expected Barrister Amjad Malik.

    The Presidential Correspondence Team on 6 Feb has responded as following, “Dear Friend,Thank you for your message. On behalf of President Obama, we appreciate hearing from you. The President has promised the most transparent administration in history, and we are committed to listening to and responding to you”.

    6 Feb 2010

  2. Omar Khattab

    She is an Islamofascist and desrves to be shot by a firing squad. It is only the Saudi-financed Islamist lobby which is supporting her.

  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    Eik no one deserves the firing squad so this is liberal fascism and I think we as liberals should be better than that.

    Do- I don’t know why we feel that Aafia Siddiqui is innocent. She clearly was upto a lot of mischief. Her record in MIT clearly indicates it and I am not sure why Americans would kidnap someone without rhyme or reason if there wasn’t something there.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    Btw I know some of Aafia’s classmates from Texas …and frankly I can believe the story about her being Al Qaeda.

  5. Milind Kher

    The US has a nil tolerance policy for terrorism. That is why no terrorist attacks have taken place in the US after 9/11

    They will not spare Dr Afia Saddiqui. Let people protest as much as they want.

  6. yasserlatifhamdani

    Well said. And I am sick of our stupid political parties making this national issue.

    She was with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan from 2003-2008 most probably.

    A few days ago, I saw a bunch of chutiyas dressed up as Muhammad Bin Qasim ready to “liberate qaum ki beti”.

  7. Mustafa Shaban

    @YLH, Milind: I beleive Afia is completely innocent. Why would a women with a 6 month old baby and 2 small kids go to Afghanistan to fight against the Americans? How can a wea women like Afia take a rifle from an american soldier and shoot him?? It doesnt make any sense, and also the judge in New York said there was no evidence linking Afia to Al Qaeda. Musharraf says in his book how he handed over random people to the americans for money. Afia was kidnapped in Karachi by the FBI. The Americans have been taking people randomly in US and Pakistan and elsewhere because they are suspected of ”terrorism” and are taken without trial.

    Also Afia Siddiqui’s casee is a violation of international law and the UN Charter.

  8. Aliarqam

    “A few days ago, I saw a bunch of chutiyas dressed up as Muhammad Bin Qasim ready to “liberate qaum ki beti”.
    I observed the same form some PASBAN guys shouting on Mega Phones…..crying and accusing Americans for the rape of Dr. Aafia….
    It is a matter of honor and we Pakistanis are polpular for honor killings…If Americans can do it on our behalf

  9. Milind Kher

    We had a woman terrorist called Ishrat Jehan who was shot dead in an encounter.

    She was a woman and a student, not your typical terrorist. Yet, the fact remains that she was a terrorist.

    Terrorists need to get the message that nobody is going to shield them. Every state will start getting tougher on terrorists by the day.

  10. vajra

    @Milind Kher

    Milind, I am not at all sure that Ishrat Jehan was a genuine terrorist, leave alone the circumstances of her death. Not a good example, in my opinion. Let the law take its course first; there’re a lot of skeletons rattling about in that cupboard.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    I don’t know what kind of idiots come out to support such ridiculous causes.
    Same people support honor killings.

    Such foolishness should always be condemned wherever.

  12. Mustafa Shaban

    @YLH: I am not in support of honor killings, I am totally against any repression of women. I believe women should be respected and given as much opportunity as men. However you view the US government as angelic saint that wil never lie , decieve, break international law and has no desires of its own is incorrect. This is not the case with the US elite and government which is an empire that has 700 bases in over 120 countries in the world, with a defense spending that accounts for 50% of the worlds defence spending. Who, as admitted by Obama has overthrown democratically elected leaders like Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 all over the world, backs brutal dictators and continues to expand its influence in the globe.

    The crimes of US military and CIA are well documented and are known to have killed millions of innocents, it is naive to think that all they have in mind being a hyperpower is thier own defence.

  13. hoss

    Between the Jamaat Islami propaganda in Pakistan and the US propaganda all over the world, the truth is lost in this case.
    She had the opportunity to explain where the heck she was for four or five years but never bothers to explain except to claim that she was under ISI control, she would not comment on why the ISI let her go.

    There are so many contradictions in her narrative that it is hard to believe her story. The US is also lying big time in this matter.

    She was the only designated terrorist in the US, who got a civilian trial after the shoe bomber. They brought her to NY for major publicity stunt but that just did not work in the US but in Pakistan, every tom, dick and harry with fake credentials such as “(APL) an Association of Pakistani origin Solicitors” is trying to be a hero to get her released.

    I think eventually US would release her to make her a darling of the right wing nut cases in Pakistan and to deliver a blow to the rising liberal movement in Pakistan.
    Strange war on terror. Every effort is made by both the US and Pakistan to keep the right wing machine going to continue with the war.

    Btw, the trial was all about propaganda, there isn’t any jury in the US that would take the heat for releasing a terrorist. Her fate was sealed from the day one. But her trial has made her a right wing star and Pakistani should brace for another onslaught by the right wing machine when she is released.

  14. yasserlatifhamdani

    US releasing Lady Al Qaeda will just be a complete betrayal.

    Already … Lady Al Qaeda’s mommy dearest has promised America’s downfall…

    In this case the most sinister person seems to be Lady Al Qaeda’s sister.

  15. emrun

    I dont know wjats wrong with Pakistani govt. What are they trying to prove by spendig millions of dollars on protecting this alqaeda lady. She brought bothing but disgrace to Pakistan and she is proud of it. JI is not even ally of PPP. There are thousands of pakistanis held in detention centers around teh world whose crime is as simple as over stay in a country yet they are not even provided with consualr access. Lady alqaeda is not our problem let her family and JIand PTI help her out becasue she is their heroin.

  16. Majumdar

    Between the Jamaat Islami propaganda in Pakistan and the US propaganda all over the world, the truth is lost in this case.

    One consequence of this is that people will believe what they want to believe. Those who believe that Afia is a terrorist wud refuse to believe anything that is there in her defence as ramblings of apologists. Those who believe that she is innocent wud treat any evidence against her as Zionist/Mirzaee (etc) fabrication.

    Regards

  17. Midfield Dynamo

    Should you play with fire, there is a strong likelihood of getting burnt. Dr. Sahiba is such a case.

  18. YLH

    Majumdar,

    I for one am willing to consider whether the jury’s verdict was flawed…

    But what I am pissed about is this championing of a person who clearly was upto no good right from her college days.

  19. Milind Kher

    Support for Aafia Siddiqui is yet another manifestation of anti Americanism. It is doubtful whether this kind of attitude will help. It will only lead to isolation of Pakistan.

  20. Hayyer

    I came upon this rather incomplete version of events on the net. There are huge gaps on where the kids are and what the husband says as well as other matters. Did the trial reveal anything to add?

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/whos_afraid_of_aafia_siddiqui/

  21. Hayyer

    Wikipedia has a very informative piece about Aafia Siddiqui.