Pakistani woman indicted for attempted murder in US

September 3rd, 2008 - 8:11 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 3 (DPA) The US government Tuesday indicted a Pakistani woman for attempting to murder American interrogators while she was being held in Afghanistan.Aafia Siddiqui, 36, faces attempted murder charges after she allegedly seized a rifle from a US Army officer and tried to fire it at the interrogators who arrived in Ghazni, Afghanistan in July to question her about possible terrorist related activities, the US Justice Department said.

She is charged with five counts of attempted murder and assault and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count, the Justice Department said.

The US for years had sought custody of the US-educated Siddiqui on suspicions she had links with Al Qaeda. The Justice Department said she was detained by Afghan authorities who found her with documents showing how to make explosives and descriptions of landmarks in New York and other parts of the United States.

The department described an incident at the facility where Siddiqui grabbed a rifle and attempted to shoot a US Army captain in the room where she was being held. An interpreter also in the room lunged at Siddiqui and redirected the rifle.

Siddiqui’s family has insisted she be returned to her native country and has asked Pakistani courts to intervene.

Siddiqui went missing five years ago with her three children in Karachi. The family’s lawyers alleged she was abducted by Pakistani intelligence in March 2003 and handed over to the Americans.

After completing her doctoral degree in the US Siddiqui returned to Pakistan in February 2003 but failed to secure employment. She reportedly returned to the US the same year, renting a post office box in her name in Maryland.

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