I'm a little bit upset about this whole Aafia Siddiqui situation. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is an MIT-educated neuroscientist from Pakistan. In 2008, she was in US custody in Afghanistan. And she allegedly tried to kill American military officers while in custody. Last February, she was convicted in a New York. And now she faces life in prison. A grave injustice has been committed here. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was held against her will in Afghanistan because she was suspected of cooperating with al Qaida.
Given the fact that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was held at Bagram airbase, and the fact that Bagram airbase is known to be a place where US officials brutally torture detainees, there is a good chance that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui may indeed have been tortured. This really reflects the moral bankruptcy of both the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Firstly, torture in and of itself is abhorrent, but torturing a woman is just plain disgusting. She wasn't even a soldier. She was a neuroscientist.
Secondly, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was held as a prisoner during a time of war. During a time of war, it is not exactly a crime to kill your captors in self-defense. Killing your captors in self-defense is not even a crime during peacetime. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui did nothing wrong. She is an innocent civilian who was kidnapped by the overzealous US military, and she may even have been tortured. She should be released without delay and returned to Pakistan.
And if it is found that she was tortured, then the people that ordered the torture should be put on trial -- as should the people who actually carried out the torture. The conduct of the US military in Afghanistan has been absolutely abominable. In a New York Times story on this subject, one Western diplomat compared Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program; this was an obvious attempt to diminish Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's public image given the fact that the overwhelming majority of Pakistani public opinion is on the side of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
There are some elements in Pakistan who have taken to disparaging Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. This is shameful, and it is wrong. It doesn't matter whether you agree with Dr. Aafia's actions or not. It doesn't even matter whether or not you agree with her politics (whatever they may be). What matters is that she is the victim of a barbaric US military and an unjust American 'justice' system. And anybody and everybody who believes in justice should come out in support of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's release.