Dr Aafia’s attorney dissatisfied with US justice system
22 December, 2010
LAHORE: The attorney of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s family and executive director of the International Justice Network, Tina Monshipour Foster, has said that she is dissatisfied by the American justice system, especially after the court’s decision on Dr Aafia’s case.
Foster, who is not directly representing Dr Aafia in the case but works as her family lawyer, was addressing a press conference along with some activists of Jamaat-e-Islami, including Pasbaan President Altaf Shakoor, spokesman Farooq Chohan, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui and IJN researcher Sara Hooward at the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday. Foster is founder of the IJN and serves as the lead counsel in several cases on behalf of detainees picked up by the US army and law enforcement agencies, mostly on the charges of terrorism from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.
Her organisation is defending a number of significant al Qaeda suspects, including Fadi al Maqaleh from Yemen, Amin al Bakri from Yemen, Haji Wazir from Afghanistan, Redha al Najar from Tunisia, Jan Sher Khan and Amanatullah from Pakistan.
Commenting on Dr Aafia’s case in which she was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a US federal court three months ago, Foster said Aafia was innocent.
She said she believed that Dr Aafia could never cause harm to anyone. The verdict was not only unjust to her, but it would cast a negative impact on her two children in Pakistan who might never see their mother again.
Criticising the justice system in the US as biased towards Muslims, she said those who were responsible for the kidnapping, disappearance and abuse of Dr Aafia and her children without solid evidence have yet to answer for their actions. She said despite all the injustices, Dr Aafia made it clear that she did not approve any acts of violence and all the evidences against her were false. Answering a question, Foster said she did not agree with the court verdict. Dr Aafia’s court-appointed lawyers would file an appeal against the decision on January 28, 2011. She said that Dr Aafia’s imprisonment was a political case and directly related to the US foreign policies like war on terrorism and extradition matters with different countries. So there was very little chance of getting justice for her, she added.
About Dr Aafia’s current status, Foster said she was being held in solitary confinement in a small cell where no attorney or family member had been able to see her for many months. She was in a medical unit because she was suffering both mentally and physically, she stated.
Replying to a question about the role of Pakistani and US governments in the case, she said as an American citizen, she could confirm that the White House must listen to the call of the nation if all Pakistanis and political parties stood united to bring Aafia back. The attorney said US President Barack Obama has some discretionary powers to order release of Dr Aafia and for this, the Pakistani government, political parties and the nation should unite.