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Aafia’s plea for throwing out her case rejected

By Masood Haider

NEW YORK: A US Federal Court rejected on Thursday Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s defence teamÂ’s appeal to throw out the case against her since the alleged crime was not committed on the American soil.

At a pre-trial hearing Judge Richard Berman cited a congressional statute as well as past precedent to rule that the court had jurisdiction in Dr Siddiqui’s case.

Dr Siddiqui is in a New York jail charged with attacking US interrogators in Afghanistan in July 2008. She was brought to New York in US custody the following month.

The defence argued that it was against the Geneva conventions to try Dr Aafia Siddiqui for attempted murder in the US when the crime was allegedly committed in Afghanistan.

Ms Siddiqui on her part protested the proceedings and was sent to another room to watch the proceedings on a closed circuit TV.

In another motion, the defence asked the court to throw out the first count of the indictment against Dr Siddiqui on technical grounds but that motion was also dismissed.Lead defence attorney Charles Swift said that since his client was not charged with terrorism and it was simply a case of attempted murder, and the information related to what was found on Dr Siddiqui should be removed from the indictment. He also wanted to expunge from the court papers the statements made by his client to the Afghan officials.

Mr Swift also requested that Ms Siddiqui should not be required to appear in court and instead be allowed to watch the proceedings through video conferencing. The defence team argued it was not good for their relationship with their client to have her go through the security requirements necessary to appear in court. Dr Siddiqui refused to sign an affidavit to waive her right to appear in court.
Source: Dawn
Date:11/21/2009

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