Ailing Aafia Siddiqui subjected to ‘sexual assault’ in US prison

“Dr Aafia was sexually assaulted at Bagram as an interrogation tactic,” her lawyer Clive Stafford Smith says

Dr Aafia was sexually assaulted at Bagram as an interrogation tactic,” her lawyer Clive Stafford Smith says
  • Dr Aafia narrated her ordeal to her counsel in meeting.
  • Lawyer says she was sexually assaulted at Bagram jail too.
  • Dr Fowzia met her sister in US for 4 hours “from a distance”.

Human rights attorney Clive Stafford Smith asserted on Tuesday that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist incarcerated in the United States for more than a decade, has experienced sexual assault on at least two occasions during her imprisonment. This mistreatment occurred in addition to the abuse she endured at Bagram jail in Afghanistan.

In an interview with a News Correspondent, Smith, who serves as Dr. Aafia’s legal representative, disclosed that his client had conveyed information about the sexual assaults during a meeting. He also noted that the Pakistani government is aware of these instances of sexual assault.

Smith’s remarks referred to a 2018 report by Aisha Farooqui, Pakistan’s former consul general in Houston, detailing the physical and sexual abuse suffered by Dr. Aafia during her detention. The report recommended diplomatic efforts to elevate her case to the highest level and facilitate Dr. Aafia’s repatriation.

According to Smith, a sexual assault complaint was filed on Dr. Aafia’s behalf, emphasizing that she had been sexually assaulted in Bagram jail as part of an interrogation tactic when the U.S. military operated bases in Afghanistan.

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, currently in the U.S. to visit her imprisoned sister at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Texas, confirmed a four-hour “distance” meeting with her sister, expressing concern about Dr. Aafia’s health. Dr. Fowzia quoted her sister as stating that prison staff provided better treatment only two days before scheduled meetings.

Although Dr. Fowzia was not allowed to meet her sister according to jail regulations, she hinted at the possibility of another meeting if the Pakistani consul general could persuade the authorities.

Earlier in the year, the sisters, after 20 years, met when Dr. Fowzia visited Dr. Aafia in June at a prison hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Fowzia, along with Senator Mushtaq of Jamaat-e-Islami and Smith, had traveled to the U.S. after finally being granted permission to meet Dr. Aafia.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a U.S.-educated Pakistani scientist, was sentenced to 86 years in 2010 by a New York federal district court on charges of attempted murder and assault. These charges stemmed from an incident during an interview with U.S. authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan, which she denied. Despite being the first woman suspected of Al-Qaeda links by the U.S., she was never convicted. Dr. Aafia disappeared in 2003 in Karachi, only to resurface in Afghanistan five years later, where she was arrested.