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rorism charge was included in the criminal indictment against her. This would be of little consolation to the accused, however, because federal Judge Richard Berman, who presided over her trial in New York, would grant the prosecution practically everything it wanted—most significantly, a ban on any testimony that would shed light on the missing five years of secret imprisonment. Her short trial, which began in February 2010, featured blatant inconsistencies in the testimonies of the government’s star witnesses, and material evidence that clearly favored the defendant. Despite this, however, Aafia was found guilty on all seven counts of the indictment. On Sept. 23, 2010, following three postponements, Aafia would finally be back in court for sentencing. The government’s argument at sentencing revolved around Aafia’s alleged hatred toward and desire to kill Americans. According to the lead prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher LaVigne, “This was not some random act. On that day the bottom line is, she saw her chance and she took it.â€? Defense attorney Dawn M. Cardi drew attention to the government’s obstructions (i.e. Cardi’s unsuccessful attempts to access “classified evidenceâ€? relevant to the case), and the “mental illnessâ€? and “diminished capacityâ€? that Aafia suffers as a result of her now seven-year-long ordeal. As Judge Berman clumsily outlined his reasoning behind the barbaric sentence he was about to impose, he applied a number of federal “enhancementsâ€? that didn’t really make sense. When he announced the sentence of “86 years of imprisonment for Dr. Siddiqui,â€? Sara Flounders of the International Action Center shouted out in the courtroom: “Shame, Shame, Shame on this court!â€? She was promptly threatened with removal. Aafia Siddiqui was the embodiment of faith and grace when she addressed the court following her sentence. She turned toward the witnesses seated behind her in the courtroom, and counseled her supporters not to become “emotional.â€? She insisted that she was content with the qadr (or will) of God. She urged those present, and those who would get the news later, not to be angry “at anyone involved in this case.â€? “I am one person, and the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, forgave all of his personal enemies. Forgive everybody in my case, please‌the world is full of injustices, I am just one person‌and also forDECEMBER 2010

give Judge Berman. “I don’t want any bloodshed‌,â€? Aafia continued. “I want peace and to end all wars.â€? When Judge Berman informed the defendant of her right to appeal his verdict, Aafia’s response was: “I appeal to God‌ and he hears me.â€? Within 48 hours of Aafia’s sentencing there were demonstrations in a number of

Pakistan’s cities demanding the return of the woman now dubbed the “daughter of Pakistan.â€? In Karachi alone an estimated one million people took to the streets. Even more remarkable, however, is the fact that there were no deaths, and few injuries or arrests. Aafia’s call for no violence in her name was heard and honored in a profoundly powerful way‌and the struggle continues. â?‘


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The Journal of Palestine Studies, the only North American journal devoted exclusively to Palestinian affairs and the ArabIsraeli conflict, brings you timely and comprehensive information on the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s political, religious, and cultural concerns. With emphasis on peaceful conflict resolution, the journal unites sound research and analysis with a variety of well-informed perspectives by academics, policy makers, and diplomats. E E E C 1 > @ 3 A A 8 = C @ < / : A 1= ;



Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  

Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.