Terror suspect Dr Aafia to be searched naked before she meets attorneys, relatives

August 11th, 2008 - 11:17 am ICT by ANI  

Islamabad , Aug 11 (ANI): The ordeal for Pakistani-American national Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who was allegedly arrested from Kabul on terror charges and was later extradited to the US , seems to be unending. Presently under detention in the US and facing trial for trying to kill FBI sleuths, she will be required to be fully strip-searched before she is allowed to meet her attorneys, Pakistani diplomats or her family members.

The Muslim lady has reportedly refused to undergo such humiliation, but the US authorities have insisted on the process.

According to the attorney of the detained Pakistani doctor, strip-checking amounts to searching the body of a naked prisoner so as to check that the prisoner has not hidden anything in his or her body, reported The News.

Though Afghan and US security agencies have maintained that Dr Aafia, a neuroscientist by profession, was arrested last Monday while Kabul while loitering near a Governors House under mysterious circumstances, her family members, including her sister, have claimed that she was detained for the past five years at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.

A letter written by Dr Aafia’’s counsel Elaine Whitfield Sharp, on behalf of the detainee, to Pakistani ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani, reveals that the Americans have stressed the need for strip-search of Dr Aafia every time she would meet some one. The inmate is required to be stripped naked and checked to find he/she is not hiding anything on his/her body. I think you will agree that this type of strip-search is not only humiliating and degrading but is also offensive to a woman who is a devout Muslim, as is Dr Siddiqui, the paper quoted her as writing in the letter.

The counsel further wrote: Because it is so offensive, Dr Siddiqui is now refusing to undergo this ”procedure” and because she will no longer consent, she is now forbidden from having a contact visit with her attorneys.

Dr Aafia’’s counsel further wrote in the letter: I write to you on behalf of Aafia Siddiqui, PhD, a 36-year-old Muslim woman and Pakistani citizen, who is in pre-trial detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn , New York . Dr Siddiqui is not allowed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP) to have contact visits, that is, she is not allowed to come into physical contact with anyone.

Despite this, the BoP and staff at the MDC are insisting that Dr Siddiqui endure the humiliation of a so-called ‘’strip search” each and every time one of her lawyers come to visit her for purposes of defending her in the United States District Court on criminal charges, added the lawyer. (ANI)

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