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Dr Aafia’s life is in danger, says sister

KARACHI, Aug 12: Dr Fouzia Siddiqui has expressed fears that American agencies might kill her sister, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a PhD in neuro-cognitive science who has reportedly been under detention for more than five years for her alleged links with Al Qaeda, saying that one Saood Memon was earlier tortured to death by the agencies before his production in court.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, she said her sister, escorted by US soldiers and agency personnel, was brought on a wheelchair to court.

“Dr Aafia could not even stand due to her wounds,” she said, adding that it seemed as if she was not being provided any medical treatment.

Dr Fouzia, a neurologist who used to work at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, said she learnt from some media reports that the kidneys of her sister were not working yet the US government did not allow her to consult a doctor.

Quoting her brother, who managed to meet Dr Aafia in court after getting permission from the authorities concerned, she said that her sister was near death.

“The inhuman treatment being meted out to her is a slap on face of American civilisation,” she said, adding that even her two children who had the US nationality were being deprived of basic human rights.

Her only mistake was that she wore a headscarf and offered regular prayers which the US did not like, Dr Fouzia said, alleging that the local security agencies were fully involved in handing over her to Americans. “Without the active help of Pakistani agencies it was not possible [for the United States] to shift my sister abroad,” she said.

If the scientist was involved in any criminal activity, her trial should be conducted in Pakistan, she said.

President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Karachi chapter, Khalid Khawaja said that he had repeatedly contacted on phone the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, and requested him to ask the American government to provide medical facilities and other human rights to Dr Aafia. However, the US authorities did not pay attention to their sentiments.

He demanded that the government of Pakistan give “the required surety to the US authorities regarding Dr Aafia as she was a Pakistani citizen.”
Source: Dawn
Date:8/13/2008

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