Pakistan woman alleged to be al-Qaeda agent appears in US court

[JURIST] The first woman scheduled to stand trial in the US on charges related to suspected al-Qaeda ties has been extradited to the US and appeared before the District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] Tuesday on terrorism charges. Aafia Siddiqui [FBI materials], who comes from Pakistan, was charged [complaint, PDF; DOJ press release] with assault and the attempted murder of a US officer after allegedly opening fire on agents at the Afghan detention facility where she was being held last month. According to the complaint:

AAFIA SIDDIQUI, the defendant, who will be first brought to and arrested in the Southern District of New York, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly did use a deadly and dangerous weapon and did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with a person designated in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1114, namely, officers and employees of the FBI and the United States armed services, while engaged in and on account of the performance of official duties, to wit, SIDDIQUI obtained a United States Army Officer's M-4 rifle and fired it at officers and employees of the FBI and the United States armed services.
If convicted, she could face 20 years in prison on each charge. AFP has more. The Times has additional coverage.

Siddiqui's family has insisted that she is not an al-Qaeda agent and that the FBI has publicized misleading information about her. They say that Siddiqui, a former student at Brandeis University and MIT in Boston, may have been a victim of extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] after she vanished from Karachi, Pakistan in 2003. Family lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp [firm profile] alleged that Siddiqui may have been wrongly detained and tortured at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.


 

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