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August 8, 2008

2008.08.08: Antiwar Bulletin: Monday Rally for Dr. Afia Siddiqui

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 11:36 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Monday Rally for Dr. Afia Siddiqui

Pakistan USA Freedom Forum

We are calling for  support and justice for Dr. Afia Siddiqui (and all disappeared peoples)
All activist and people of conscious are welcome to attend a support

Rally

Monday August 11, 2008 at 2pm
Southern Federal Court of Manhattan
500 Pearl St. (on Worth St. near the corner of Center St.)
New York, New York

siddiqui

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-207-2008
August 07, 2008

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
WORLD: The US Congress must investigate Dr. Afia’s case

The United States and its security organisations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a statement confirming that Dr. Afia Siddiqui is in their custody since her so-called arrest from Afghanistan on July 17, 2008.  Dr. Afia was reported missing along with her three children since the past five years. From the day Dr. Afia went missing, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan was suspected of being responsible for her disappearance.

The admission of the US and its intelligence agency that Dr. Afia is in their custody and that D r. Afia was arrested on July 17 outside the governor house in Ghizni province in Afghanistan at least serves the minimal purpose that the ISI and the US administration is behind the disappearance of Dr. Afia, a Pakistani citizen bound to be protected by Pakistani law.

However there is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that Dr. Afia and her children have been missing March 2003. The admission by the FBI about the arrest on July 17, 2008 appears to be a ploy to detract attention from this long-term disappearance and their responsibilities for it.

An Urgent Appeal issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on July 24, 2008, called upon the authorities in the US, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other UN agencies to immediately intervene in the case. The Appeal and a follow-up statement issued by the AHRC demanded a probe into the disappearance of Dr. Afia and her children.

According to Dr. Afia’s sister who gave a press conference in Karachi Dr. Afai’s family has been threatened to remain silent and not to talk to media on this matter. It is widely presumed that the action of the Pakistan authorities has been done at the behest of the US authorities.

It is reported that when Dr. Afia disappeared in 2003 she had three children of which the youngest was an infant. However when Dr. Afia was produced in the c ourt she had only one child in her possession. While the whereabouts of her other two children are not known, there are credible reports that of the two missing children one child had died in custody. The circumstances that led to the death of the child is not known and the authorities having custody of Dr. Afia and her children has thus far remained silent about it.

Dr. Afia’s physical and mental state when she was produced in court on August 5 is suggestive of the treatment a detainee like Dr. Afia receives in custody. Dr. Afia was reportedly not in a position to speak or even able to verbally respond to the court. Such physical and mental state of a detainee is also an indicator of the condition in which a suspect is detained and interrogated by the authorities responsible for this case.

While Dr. Afia’s involvement with anti-democratic forces is still being debated, what is apparent in Dr. Afia’s case is the simple fact that there is no possibility within Pakistan to determine such an issue independently. The limited scope for such an enquiry and also the use of the existing justice mechanism in Pakistan is denied by foreign interference. An external interference to such extent is only possible in a state where the domestic legislative and legal frame work for justice dispensation has collapsed considerably.

In these circumstances the AHRC calls upon the international community including the UN to ensure the following:

1. Immediate enquiry must be held at the highest possible levels of the US military and the US Congress into Dr. Afia’s case;

2. Dr. Afia must be provided immediate access to the lawyers of her choice;

3. Dr. Afia must be provided with immediate and adequate medical care;

4. That the whereabouts of her two missing children be revealed to the public;

5. Free access to be given to the media to interview Dr. Afia;

6. The human rights and civil society organizations in the US must form a special committee to investigate into Dr. Afia’s case

7. Dr. Afia must also be released from custody on bail pending enquiry into her case

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