Who Is Aafia Siddiqui?
Since the onset of the so-called global war on terror, the US has been trying to give credence to the idea that it has the right to torture or kill whoever is suspected to have ties with Al-Qaeda. This week, social media users have used their platforms to call on authorities to release Dr. Aafia Siddique. Dr. Aafia, a US citizen of Pakistani origin and a Ph.D. holder from MIT, is being held in US prisoners under the guise of fighting terrorism. In 2003, Aafia and her three kids, Ahmed, Maryam, and Sulayman were allegedly tortured, kidnapped, hooded, and drugged, before being taken to Bagram prison, an American-based prison in Afghanistan famous for brutal torture of prisoners.
According to her sister, Fawzia Siddiqui, Aafia was tortured, sexually harassed, and raped by the American soldiers. In addition to that, she was forced to walk on the Quran naked. Prisoners, moreover, said they heard her screaming every day because of the torture she had to endure for weeks. This has prompted them to start a six-day hunger strike in protest of her abuse. These reports were given credence by a British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who told a Pakistani news agency that a Pakistani woman is being held and tortured for years in Bargam prison.
In 2008, according to an American Scenario, Aafia was behind a curtain and saw a gun in front of her. Then she jumped out from behind the curtain and fired shots at the soldiers, and wrestled several to the ground before being shot herself. Aafia’s supporters, nonetheless, said it’s a scenario, pioneered by the American soldiers because Aafia’s health condition was not good enough to be able to hold a gun and terrorize US soldiers.
In 2010, Aafia was deported to the US, where she faced her first trial and was sentenced to 86-year in prison. Her supporters argue that her imprisonment is unfair. Health Experts deemed her unfit to stand a trial. Media outlets, however, continue to describe her as “Lady Al-Qaeda”.
The testimony of the US government’s six eyewitnesses contradicts each other and they used “forced confessions” solicited from Dr. Aafia whilst under pressure in hospital, alleging her supporters.
“The power you gave them to torture me, rape me, and every time allow them to search me naked. I’m dead,” exclaimed Dr. Aafia in her speech at her sentencing. She further added, “I was dead since the very first time I was raped and searched naked.”
“Each and every time you need to present me in court – I’m searched naked… leave me alone or send me back to my country, Pakistan,” Dr. Aafia stated.
Currently, she is imprisoned in the Federal Medical Center (FMC), which is famous for the abuse of female prisoners.
Since Imran Khan held power in Pakistan, he has called on the American authorities to release Aafia, but in vain. Social media users, at least from 16 countries, have used the hash tag #free_sister_aafia, hoping to bring her issue to the forefront of media outlets.