Forwarded Press Release
7th August 2008
Aafia Siddiqui claims she was held by the US in Bagram for years
Cageprisoners has received new information that Aafia Siddiqui was held for years in Bagram Airbase. According to her lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp,
We do know she was at Bagram for a long time. It was a long time. According to my client she was there for years and she was held in American custody; her treatment was horrendous.”
Siddiqui’s claim is contrary to the heavily contested position of the US administration that she was detained in July by Afghan forces while attempting to bomb the compound of the governor of Ghazni. The US has previously denied the presence of female detainees in Bagram and that Aafia was ever held there, bar for medical treatment in July 2008.
Sharp also commented about Siddiqui’s current condition and in particular the gunshot wound she has received. Not having been given proper medical treatment for the wound, there is a real concern that it will become infected as it is believed to be septic. She is extremely weak and had to be wheeled into her legal visit.
Legal visits have also become a problem for Sharp and her client. They were only allowed to meet with Siddiqui in a cell behind glass with bars and their only method of communication was through the slot in the door used for food. Sharp was forced to bend over for the several hours of their meeting in order to listen and speak through the food slot. This resulted in extreme difficult for lawyer and client as they attempted to speak to one another. Sharp further commented,
“In that open situation, we were forced to keep our voices low as we were aware that we were video and tape recorded. The whole situation made it impossible for me to meet properly with my client.”
Of great concern to Cageprisoners is the detention of Ahmed, the twelve-year-old son of Siddiqui who is still being detained in Afghanistan, alone and away from his mother, despite his status as a US citizen. It is imperative that the US place him in the custody of his relatives.
Cageprisoners is a human rights organisation that exists to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror. We aim to give a voice to the voiceless.
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