Human rights activists in support of Pakistani political prisoner Dr Aafia Siddiqui have launched the White House Petition Drive as a means to redress her imprisonment. Eleven years ago Dr Aafia was kidnapped and arrested with her three children in Karachi, Pakistan. It has been reported that on March 31st 2003, Dr Aafia was turned over to representatives of the U.S government. Dr Aafia was sentenced to 86 years imprisonment for a crime her family and human rights activists believe she did not commit.
“What we are trying to achieve through this petition is for the Obama government to take notice,” said Inayet Wadee, the co-ordinator of the local Free Aafia Siddiqui Movement.
Dr. Aafia was reported to have been tortured at the infamous Bagram prison in Afghanistan. She was detained on grounds of being in possession of notes containing information on bomb making. During her detention, she was accused and charged with attempted murder and assault, relating to an incident that occurred during an interrogation session. Human rights groups around the world have slammed the case against Siddiqui as baseless, and a gross violation of human rights. In 2008, she received global prominence as Prisoner 650.
Wadee said they are in need of 100 000 signatures on the petition.
“Somebody is going to sit up and take notice and not forget that Aafia Siddiqui is still [in a US prison] in Texas. What we are trying to achieve with this petition is to put pressure on the U.S government to release her. At the same time, the appeal is being heard and hopefully with the pressure that is being put through the petition, Aafia Siddiqui will be declared a mistrial and hopefully she will be set free,” said Wadee.
The petition will be circulated right across the globe as it is an online petition. The deadline of the petition is August 3rd which coincides with the deadline for the appeal process.
“The family of Aafia Siddiqui have filed an appeal which will coincide with the 3rd of August petition date,” Wadee added.
To sign the petition, go to https://petitions.whitehouse.gov. VOC (Shanaaz Abrahams)