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Govt urged to release promised legal aid: Dr Aafia case

KARACHI, Oct 6: Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, who has been mobilizing support for her younger sister facing trial in a New York court, has urged the Pakistan government to release the promised fund to meet her legal expenses and reiterated the demand for her early repatriation.

An ex-student at the elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to kill the US personnel sent to take custody of her in Afghanistan.

Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, accompanied by Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Iqbal Haider, thanked the government for its efforts towards the release of Dr Aafia’s son and expressed hope that the government would also help in securing the release of her two other children, who were allegedly kidnapped and brutalized in captivity by the Americans.

Appreciating the government’s cooperation through resolutions and statements in support of her ‘illegally incarcerated’ sister, she said the best treatment for her sister was her repatriation to Pakistan immediately.

She described Judge Berman’s ruling in Dr Aafia’s hearing on Oct 1 as shocking in which the judge had ordered that she should be transferred to a psychiatric centre in Texas for psychiatric evaluation. “Her transfer to this notorious horror centre means even worse abuse and solitary incarceration for an unlimited period without further due process of law and without further trail,” she feared.

She said that detaining her sister in a ‘notorious’ psychiatric institute, putting her through dehumanizing searches, chaining her to beds, floor hooks or walls would not rehabilitate her. Instead she should be reunited with her family and sent home so that she could get familiar surroundings and recover quickly.

“The best treatment and ointment for her wounds after over five years of physical, mental and emotional abuse, torture and brain washing was to send her home immediately where she will receive family’s trust, love, affection and sense of security that she had been deprived of for long,” she added.

There was nothing against Dr Aafia to keep her in prison any more, she said, adding that transferring her to Carlswell Psychiatric Centre in Ford-Worth, Texas was the new tactics of the US government to keep her in detention on the pretext of psychiatric evaluation. This was commonly used against inmates when government lacked an evidence for holding them, she added.

She questioned psychiatric and mental evaluation of her sister who had been diagnosed with “Chronic Depressive Psychosis”, which needed to be followed by requisite treatment. She said mental evaluation trick was just a pretext to affect memory of Dr Aafia and bring it in line with some thing they had concocted about past five years.

“We believe that a competency examination of Dr Aafia Siddiqui under 18 USC-4241 should not be under taken until she is treated for her obvious incapacitating mental illness and healing of gunshot wounds,” she said.

Dr Fauzia said that the Carlswell Psychiatric Centre, known as a ‘House of Horror’, had a documented history of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse (even by medical professionals, priests and prison guards). If rape and torture was being inflicted with legal, medical and security supports, they were partners in crime against humanity, she said.

HRCP Secretary General Iqbal Haider also demanded that Dr Aafia should be repatriated and extradited to Pakistan forthwith. He said the government could seek her repatriation from the US because there was no legal hitch in that. He also called for the release of an Indian spy, Sarabjeet Singh, on humanitarian grounds.
Source: Dawn
Date:10/7/2008

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