PADF Supports Aafia’s Family’s Decision to Appeal

 

Washington, DC: Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF), a national grassroots organization, has issued a statement supporting Dr. Aafia’s family’s decision to appeal the lower court’s verdict convicting Dr. Aafia Siddiqui for “two counts of attempted murder, though the jury found the crime wasn't premeditated.” Says a PADF press statement:

“We stand fully committed to do everything legally-possible and morally-permissible to help the family seek justice by going to the higher courts,” PADF Chair, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Toor said.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui faces a minimum sentence of 30 years on the firearm charge alone. Prosecutors said she could also get up to 20 years for attempted murder and up to eight years on the remaining counts at sentencing May 6…

Since the prosecution was not able to present an iota of scientifically verifiable forensic evidence (fingerprints, cartridges, internal, transition, external, or terminal ballistic data, etc.), most Pakistanis see the conviction as a farce.  As evident from dozens of Pakistani TV talk shows, this verdict has further widened the gulf of distrust between the US and Pakistan.

Dr. Aafia’s mother has openly accused Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani of double dealing and misleading the family and the nation. Among other things, Hussain Haqqani is accused of impeding access of the family to defense attorneys.

This verdict has brought to the fore the issue of Dr. Aafia’s two missing children, one of whom may be dead. Regardless of the merits of the case against, how could the US government hold two totally innocent children as prisoners in incommunicado-detention?

The American legal system gives the accused more than one chance to prove his/her innocence through a series of appeals going all the way up to the US Supreme Court.  

We urge the community to remain calm, keeping themselves informed, and staying involved. The best course of action is to respect the law and support the family in pursing the legal course of action.

Since Dr. Aafia has a right to appeal which her family wants to exercise, the Pakistani-American community will do its utmost to provide moral and financial support for all these appeals.

We believe that the review petition must include a request for immediate release of Dr. Aafia’s two children, assuming that both them are still alive. Otherwise, the court must be requested to institute an inquiry into the causes of the deceased child.

(Views of Pakistan Link’s leading columnist, Arif Hussaini, on the Dr Aafia case appear on P23)

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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