Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who has been imprisoned in the United States for over a decade, appeared “miserable and terrified” of the treatment she has been subjected to, according to Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmed.
Senator Ahmed saw Dr. Aafia on Wednesday, a day after she met her younger sister Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui after 20 years, at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas.
The senator was accompanied to the meeting on Thursday by Clive Stafford-Smith, a notable human rights campaigner who also assisted in the release of Abdul Rabbani and Ahmed Rabbani from the notorious Guantanamo Bay jail.
Senator Ahmed revealed the awful situation of the detained doctor, which he observed during the three-hour telephonic chat from behind a glass shield.
“Dr. Aafia [held] a three-hour long telephonic meeting/conversation — which was being continuously recorded — in a small room partitioned with a glass shield, dressed in an off-white scarf, khaki dress, and white joggers,” he said on Twitter.
He claimed that Dr. Aafia, who was in poor health and had her eyes watering all the time, represented the brutality and agony she had endured during her years in prison.
“[Her] front four teeth were broken, and she has hearing problems as a result of a head injury.” “She kept saying, ‘Take me out of this hell,'” he wrote.
Dr. Aafia has led away in shackles at the conclusion of the conference.
The senator stated that they attempted to divert Dr. Aafia’s attention by talking about books, literature, poetry, and other topics.
“She demonstrated extraordinary verbal skills in conversation about Ghalib, Iqbal, and Hafeez Jalandhri, as well as philosophical, scientific discourses when discussing books, literature, and poetry, but suddenly she would remember her children, mother, and the pain [suffered] in prison, as well as the terrible future of the prison, and say, ‘take me out of this hell,’ with sadness.”
Senator Ahmed then urged legislators to free Dr. Aafia, claiming that “the key to Dr. Aafia’s release is present in Islamabad, not in Washington.”
Who is Dr. Aafia?
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated Pakistani scientist, was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 by a New York federal district court in September 2008 on accusations of attempted murder and assault resulting from an incident during an interview with US authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan – charges she rejected.
She was the first woman to be accused of having Al-Qaeda ties by the US, but she was never convicted.
Siddiqui moved to the United States when she was 18 years old to study at Boston’s famed MIT, where she eventually earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University.
However, following the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, she was placed on the FBI’s radar for making donations to Islamic organizations and was related to the purchase of $10,000 in night-vision goggles and combat manuals.
The US assumed she joined Al-Qaeda in America before returning to Pakistan and marrying into the family of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
She and her three children went missing in Karachi in 2003.
Five years later, she was apprehended by local forces in the restive southeastern province of Ghazni in Pakistan’s war-torn neighbor Afghanistan.