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Thousands rally for Dr Aafia release

KARACHI– Thousands of people rallied in Karachi Sunday, burning a US flag and an effigy of President George W. Bush to protest the arrest of a Pakistani woman by US authorities in Afghanistan.

The call for the rally was given by Jamaat-e-Islami, the main Islamic religious party of Pakistan, to demand the release of scientist Aafia Siddiqui, charged with trying to murder US officials in Afghanistan.

Siddiqui, 36, a mother-of-three who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was arrested on July 17 in Afghanistan, extradited to New York on August 4 and indicted the next day on a charge of attempted murder.

The protesters burnt a US flag and an effigy of Bush, chanting “Free Aafia Siddiqui,” “Death to America” and “Death to Bush.”

Police official Salman Syed told AFP that about 4,000 people attended the rally, while organisers claimed three times that number were present.

“The US should immediately release Dr Aafia Siddiqui. God knows how many of our daughters like Aafia Siddiqui are languishing in US jails,” Mohammad Hussain Mehanti, chief of Jammat-e-Islami, Karachi chapter, told protesters.

Siddiqui was wounded during an alleged shootout with FBI agents and US military officers when she was questioned in Afghanistan. A US court put her in medical care. She was on a 2004 US list of suspects linked to Al-Qaeda.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:8/18/2008

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