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Aafia Siddiqui refuses to appear in court in protest

WASHINGTON: Dr Aafia Siddiqui refused to appear in a New York court on Thursday in protest against the humiliating treatment to which she is being subjected and because of her traumatised physical, mental and emotional condition.

The next date of hearing at which she would be charged for attempted murder is September 22. Her lawyer, Elizabeth Fink, gave Judge Richard M Breman of the US district court for the southern district of New York, a harrowing description of her client’s physical and mental condition, while urging that Siddiqui be immediately shifted to a hospital. She said her present condition was not such as to make her competent to stand trial. She said her client had spent years in confinement and she was deeply worried about her three children.

Strip search: Fink gave the court a chilling description of the strip searches that Siddiqui is being made to endure every time she is visited, even by her lawyer. She refused to appear in court because she did not want to be subjected to the torture and humiliation of another strip search. Fink explained in graphic detail what a strip search involved. She said her client was made to take off all her clothes and stand with her legs apart. She was subjected to an anal examination and ordered to bend over and cough to ensure that she was not hiding anything. Fink said Siddiqui not only needed to be immediately hospitalised but she needed a gynaecologist and she required a psychiatric evaluation. The judge does not have the power to stop the strip search because it is part of prison regulations. The Pakistani-Americans present at the hearing, including Pakistan Consulate officials, were shocked at the description provided by Siddiqui’s lawyer and told journalists that they felt utterly disgusted and angered by what they had heard.
Source: Daily Times
Date:9/5/2008

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