February 3 2010
On Tuesday, jurors in New York deliberated for a full day without reaching a verdict in the trial of Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of FBI agents and US military personnel.
The deliberations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.
Siddiqui is accused of grabbing a US warrant officer’s M-4 rifle in a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan in July 2008 and firing two shots at FBI agents and military personnel when being interrogated for her alleged possession of documents detailing a ‘terrorist’ plan.
The prosecution says she burst from behind a curtain and attempted the ‘murder’ and was shot in the abdomen.
Last week, Siddiqui said she was concerned about being transferred to a “secret” prison by the US forces and was trying to slip out of the room when she was shot. “I’m telling you what I know. I walked toward the curtain. I was shot and I was shot again. I fainted,” she said.
Siddiqui’s lawyer Linda Moreno said during closing arguments Monday that the “science” supported her testimony that she didn’t touch the weapon or fire it.
“Where are the bullet holes? …Did the Afghanis take the bullet holes? …There is no physical evidence that an M-4 rifle was touched by Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, let alone fired,”The Wall Street Journal quoted Moreno as saying.
Siddiqui vanished in Karachi, Pakistan with her three children on March 30, 2003. The next day it was reported in local newspapers that she had been taken into custody on terrorism charges.
US officials allege that she was seized on July 17, 2008 by Afghan security forces in Ghazni province and claim that documents, including formulas for explosives and chemical weapons, were found in her handbag.
She has been brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault. Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison on the attempted murder charges and life in prison on the firearms charge.
However, human rights organizations have cast doubt on the accuracy of the US account of the event.
Many political activists believe she was Prisoner 650 of the US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, where they say she was tortured for five years until one day US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan.
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