Media outlets reported on Tuesday that Dr. Afia Siddiqui was indicted by a U.S. court “for allegedly attacking U.S. agents who went to interrogate her after she was arrested by local police in Afghanistan.” According to the AFP:
Siddiqui faces one count of attempting to kill U.S. nationals abroad; one count of attempting to kill U.S. officers and employees; one count of armed assault of US officers and employees; one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and three counts of assault of U.S. officers and employees.
The official statement read, “If convicted, Siddiqui faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the attempted murder and armed assault charges; life in prison on the firearm charge; and eight years in prison on each of the remaining assault charges.”
The statement, noted the AFP, also read, “Siddiqui was carrying items including handwritten notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” and a list of several U.S. locations, including the Plumb Island Animal Disease Center, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge.” However, the Daily Times reported, “While the U.S. intelligence officials have told Pakistani officials in past weeks that there is coercive evidence in their possession linking the Pakistani scientist to terrorism and Al Qaeda, surprisingly no such charge has been brought against her.” The news agency detailed two possible reasons for this: “one that the prosecution is fairly confident that it can obtain a conviction without charging her with terrorism; and, two, that the prosecution does not want to disclose information that would have had to be made public were Siddiqui to be charged with terrorism.”
Siddiqui’s case is a very controversial one, with rights groups and her family claiming she was held in a U.S. prison in Afghanistan for about five years prior to her reappearance last month, [for all CHUP posts on Afia Siddiqui, click here.] Siddiqui will reportedly be arraigned on her indictment today.