US admits holding teenage son of Pakistani scientist

August 24th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Aug 24 (DPA) US authorities have admitted that the teenage son of a Pakistani woman scientist held in the United States on charges of trying to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan is in their custody, her family said Sunday.”We received a letter from the office of US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Michael J Gracia late Friday in which he acknowledged of having in custody Aafia Siddiqui’s eldest son, Ahmed, who will turn 12 years old in November,” her sister Fauzia told DPA.

Siddiqui disappeared in 2003 along with her three children in this southern port city after her name appeared on a US list of suspects linked to Al Qaeda. Her family alleged she was arrested by Pakistan intelligence agencies and handed over to US troops.

She resurfaced early this month when the US authorities indicted her on charges of attempted murder in New York, where she was sent following her arrest July 17 outside a government compound in Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

Siddiqui’s case has stirred public anger in Pakistan.

Both houses of Pakistan’s legislature adopted unanimous resolutions demanding an immediate repatriation of Siddiqui, who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A group of Pakistani parliamentarians will travel to the US next week to press for her release and seek information about her other two children, one girl who may be now nine years old and a five-year-old son, who was just seven months when the family disappeared, according to relatives.

US officials had previously denied holding any of her children.

“The disclosure that Ahmed is in US custody is a great development,” Fauzia said. “I have a feeling that Dr Afia may be repatriated to Pakistan very soon, possibly before Sep 3 or soon afterwards.

“This might be a wishful thinking but at least this hope is what is keeping our whole family on our feet,” she added.

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