Pak-American woman neuro-scientist alive, in US custody in AfghanistanAugust 4th, 2008 - 11:49 am ICT by ANI
Washington, Aug.4 (ANI): An MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist, accused of belonging to an al-Qaeda cell based in Boston, is alive and in American custody in Afghanistan, five years after she was reported missing.
It has been confirmed by the FBI that Aafia Siddiqi is alive, The News quoted Elaine Whitfield Sharp, a lawyer for Siddiqis family, as saying.
Sharp said she spoke to an FBI official on Thursday, who told her that Siddiqi is injured but alive, and that she is in Afghanistan.
Siddiqi, who lived in Roxbury and studied at Brandeis University as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), disappeared with her three children while visiting her parents in Karachi in March 2003, around the same time the FBI announced that it wanted to question her.
For five years, the US and Pakistani authorities denied knowing her whereabouts.
On Thursday, an FBI official visited Siddiqis brother in Houston to deliver the news that she was alive and in custody, Sharp said.
The FBI officials would not say who was holding her or reveal the fate of her three young, American-born children.
Military documents declassified recently suggest that Siddiqi is suspected of having ties to several key terrorism suspects being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. She is believed to have links to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and allegedly arranged travel documents for another suspected terrorist.
In a 2006 report, the Amnesty International listed Siddiqi as among a number of disappeared suspects in the war on terrorism.
In recent weeks, Pakistani newspapers reported that a lawyer, Javed Iqbal Jaffery, had petitioned a Pakistani court for Siddiqis release and vowed to bring her detention to the UN human rights commissioner.
According to the reports, Jaffrey alleged that Siddiqi was jailed in Kabul after being held in Bagram; a British journalist reached a similar conclusion, based on interviews with prisoners released from Bagram.
Sharp said she believes those reports increased pressure on the US and Pakistani authorities to divulge more information.
I do not believe that they just found Aafia. I believe that she was there all along, Sharp said. (ANI)
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