Pakistan urges US to repatriate convicted neuroscientist
The Pakistani government has finally written to the office of the US attorney general for repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, an American-educated Pakistani neuroscientist convicted in a US federal court of assault with intent to murder her US interrogators.
She is incarcerated in New York and is awaiting a likely sentence of life in prison, which will be announced on September 23.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Interior Senator Rehman Malik on Saturday sent a letter to the US attorney general’s office for repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the country of her origin.
In the letter, Senator Rehman Malik said that the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui has become a matter of great public concern in Pakistan and her repatriation to the country of her origin would create goodwill for the US in Pakistan. He said there is also a human angle to this living episode, as her two children are living in constant state of uncertainty, which is having a telling effect on their health. Secondly, the old mother of Dr Aafia Siddiqui is suffering from depression, he stated.
The minister for interior stated that Dr Aafia Siddiqui could be deported to Pakistan under UN Convention for exchange/repatriation of prisoners on humanitarian grounds. He said that in view of above, “I would appreciate if you personally look into the matter and use your good office for helping repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.”
Senator Rehman Malik said reportedly there are over 90 precedents in the legal history of the US, where cases against such individuals were dropped on humanitarian/political grounds under UN Convention for deportation of prisoners.
Meanwhile, as directed by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, the minister for interior also spoke to the mother of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and briefed her about the actions taken on Saturday.
Dr Aafia Siddiqui, born on March 2, 1972 in Karachi, is an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist, who has been convicted in a US federal court of assault with intent to murder her US interrogators. She is incarcerated in New York and is awaiting a likely sentence of life in prison, which will be announced on September 23. She disappeared with her three young children in March 2003 in Pakistan shortly after the arrest of her second husband's uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged chief planner of the 9/11 attacks.