Aafia's family vows 'movement' for her release from American jail

Karachi, Sep 24 (ANI): Following a US federal court's decision to sentence Pakistani scientist and terror suspect- Dr. Aafia Siddiqui- to 86 years in prison for attempted murder of US officers in Afghanistan, her family has vowed to launch a "movement" for her release from prison in America.

In Karachi, Aafia's sister- Fowzia Siddiqui- said that although she was alone when she started campaigning, now the whole of Pakistan would support "the Aafia movement" to get her freed, The News reported.

Fowzia, a medical practitioner, also criticised President Asif Ali Zardari's government for its inability to get her sister released, calling the verdict as "a slap on our rulers and all the rulers of the Muslim Ummah (nations)."

"The conviction clearly shows how enslaved our government is. The previous government (President Pervez Musharraf's) had sold Aafia once, but the present government has sold her time and again," she said.

"You (the government) have shown that you are not the representatives of our people, you are traitors who have got the whole nation enslaved," she rued, expressing hope that Aafia would "certainly return sooner or later, but no one knows if our rulers will be there or not."

Around 200 activists from Jamaat-e-Islami and various right-wing groups had gathered outside Aafia's Karachi house, chanting slogans like "Down with America" and "Allah-o-Akbar," soon after news of her punishment filtered through.

Karachi's police chief Fayyaz Leghari said they were on 'high alert', and had "deployed maximum police force in the city to stop possible violence and ensure that no private property is damaged during future protests."

Meanwhile, Aafia's lawyers, immediately after the court's ruling, pledged that they would appeal against the sentence.

Aafia was arrested in July 2008 by Afghan police, who said she was carrying containers of chemicals and notes referring to mass-casualty attacks on New York landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building.

Prosecutors said she grabbed a rifle at an Afghan police station where she was being interrogated and opened fire on US servicemen and FBI representatives trying to take her into detention. (ANI)

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