Who is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui?
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani neuroscientist. She was born in Karachi on March 02, 1972.
Her father’s name is Muhammad Salay Siddiqui, who was an English-trained doctor. Her mother’s name is Ismet.
Basically, her parents belonged to the middle class. They had a strong faith in Islam. Moreover, they were very keen on children’s education. Aafia herself strictly practiced Islam. She never listened to the music; always remained in veil except for her eyes.
In 1995, she got married to Amjad Khan over the telephone. It was an arranged marriage and Aafia had never seen him. He was an anesthesiologist by profession. A year later, their first child Ahmed was born.
As for her academic record, Aafia was a brilliant student during her childhood. Her impressive academic performance won her admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
Later on, she got admission to Brandeis University from where she graduated in Cognitive Neuroscience. Further, after completing her thesis on ‘Learning through Imitation’, she received her Ph.D. in 2001.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was also a Muslim activist. She enthusiastically campaigned for Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya. She had also taken part in fundraising campaigns. For this cause, she had also made speeches in local mosques.
In 2008, over her alleged links to al-Qaida, US intelligence agencies took her into custody from Afghanistan. From there, they took her to the USA. She has been languishing in prison since then.
So, let us briefly see her life story and turning points in it.
Why is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in Prison | A Complete Story
Basically, the incident of September 11, 2001, was the turning point of Aafia Siddiqui’s life. While probing the bombing and connecting the dots and pieces of puzzles, the American intelligence agency came after every one to whom the shreds of evidence pointed.
As quoted by The Guardian,
In May 2002 the FBI questioned her and her husband about some unusual internet purchases they had made: about $10,000 worth of night-vision goggles, body armour and 45 military-style books including The Anarchist’s Arsenal.
At that time she, with her husband, was residing in the USA. Henceforth, their relationship began to crumble and they have divorced soon after.
However, things were almost normal when Aafia did something suspicious. In 2002, she opened a post box in the name of Majid Khan. Majid Khan was an alleged Al-Qaida operative in the eye of the FBI and the other American intelligence agencies.
Moreover, almost six months after her divorce, Aafia got married to Ammar Al-Baluchi. He was also known as Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, who was also accused of financing the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, he was also the nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
With all these developments, the FBI had issued a global alert for Aafia Siddiqui and her ex-husband Amjad Khan in March 2003. However, as per reports, she remained elusive without a single trace of her for almost five years; i.e. from 2003 to 2008.
Initially, it was presumed that she was taken into custody by ISI at the behest of the CIA. As The Guardian has reported in an article;
According to the US government, Siddiqui was at large, plotting mayhem on behalf of Osama bin Laden. In May 2004 the US attorney general, John Ashcroft, listed her among the seven “most wanted” al-Qaida fugitives. “Armed and dangerous,” he said, describing the Karachi woman as a terrorist “facilitator” who was willing to use her education against America. “Al-Qaida Mom” ran the headline in the New York Post.
Later on, her family denied it. According to them, she remained in detention for five years at Bagram Detention Centre (North of Kabul) where she had suffered dreadful torture. However, the USA government has strictly denied it.
Aafia Siddiqui was arrested in July 2008. According to Pakistani and USA officials, she was arrested in Afghanistan. However, her family and supporters claim that she was arrested in Pakistan and handed over to intelligence agencies; and later on, she was transferred to US custody.
While being in the custody in Afghanistan, Aafia was charged with firing at a US soldier. In 2010, US Federal Court sentenced her to 86 years of imprisonment. Apart from firing at the soldier, she has six other charges against her.
Latest About Her
Currently, Aafia Siddiqui is imprisoned at the FMC Carswell prison in Fort Worth, Texas. Her case, even her name, seems to be forgotten and is not getting any traction on media. There seem to be other more important priorities for the government right now than her case.
Note: The above-discussed story is what Western media has reported about her. Hence, her alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks and links to al Qaeda is controversial.