Cageprisoners demand answers on Siddiqui custody 8/04/08

FBI admit to detention of Aafia Siddiqui five years after disappearance

In response to the FBI admission that disappeared Aafia Siddiqui is in custody in Afghanistan, alive but injured, Asim Qureshi, Senior Researcher for Cageprisoners, issued the following statement:

“There are many questions that the FBI and the Pakistani government need to answer in light of this admission. Where is Aafia currently held, and in whose custody? Where are her children? How has she been injured and does she have sufficient access to medical care? Why has she never been charged with any crime, and why have the FBI continued to pretend to be seeking her while all the while knowing of her detention in Afghanistan? Is Aafia indeed Prisoner 650 whose screams was heard by former Bagram prisoners?

“Aafia Siddiqui is a woman who has been plagued by a number of problems in her life, none of which have anything to do with involvement with Al Qaeda. During the years the US claim she was working as an operative for the organisation, she was in fact the victim of domestic violence at the hands of an abusive husband. Community members in Boston declare that she was incapable of any violence, let alone being involved with a terrorist group.

“Whilst we welcome this disclosure from the FBI, it has only come after mounting international pressure, and five years of detention and abuse. Siddiqui’s case represents the problem of disappearances in Pakistan in the most tragic way. The acceptance by the FBI that Siddiqui has been in custody in Afghanistan raises important questions which must be answered by the Pakistani and US governments. Siddiqui must be returned to Pakistan in order to faces charges for any crime she may have committed or released along with her children.
British human rights organisation, Cageprisoners has led the campaign for Aafia Siddiqui for the past three years. Since her disappearance in March 2003 in Karachi, along with her three young children, the FBI has continually denied reports of her detention and that she was in their custody. In July 2008, Cageprisoners patron Yvonne Ridley and Director, Saghir Hussain, highlighted the case with the launch of their report, Devoid of the Rule of the Law, at a press conference organised by Imran Khan in Pakistan. The press conference sparked an international storm of outrage, with calls for the identification of Prisoner 650 and the release of Aafia Siddiqui.”

Cageprisoners is a human rights organisation that exists to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror. We aim to give a voice to the voiceless.