Terror suspect's court appearance raises questions about U.S. military conduct
The US military has rejected claims that Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui, who has been missing for the past five years, was being illegally detained and tortured.
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After her arrest in Ghazni, Afghan police searched her bag and claimed that it was full of incriminating material, according to Fox News. Reports indicate her bag contained a map of the town of Ghazni and a list of targets in the New York area, including Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, mass transit networks, and a US military research facility on Plum Island, off the coast of Connecticut.Skip to next paragraph
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While some reports characterized the landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the subway system as "targets," one federal official briefed on the case said authorities believed the list contained no credible terrorist threat.
Plum Island's inclusion also didn't cause substantial change to security at the facility, which studies foreign animal diseases, or alter the security level for Long Island, which remains at "elevated" like most of the country, [Suffolk Police Deputy Chief Mark White] said....
A law enforcement official who didn't want to be named said federal prosecutors in Manhattan were concerned that the case against Siddiqui was being oversold as a coup against terrorism.
"It's not clear it was even a target list," the official said.
Siddiqui's legal team paints a very different picture of what has happened to their client. They say she has been set up by the government, with one of her lawyers, Elizabeth Fink, telling the Associated Press, "Of course they found all this stuff on her. It was planted on her.... She is the ultimate victim of the American dark side."
In court on Wednesday, Siddiqui's legal team pressed the judge to allow her to receive immediate medical care for her gunshot wounds, saying that she had been in the US for a week, but had not seen a physician, according to Newsday.
At a hearing Monday, a Manhattan federal magistrate-judge ordered Siddiqui, wounded in the July 18 shooting incident, to get a physical examination within 24 hours. Her next court date was postponed until September. She appeared in court in a wheelchair.
NPR reports that Siddiqui's lawyers say she was arrested in 2003, shortly after she disappeared in Pakistan with her three children, and was held and tortured in a secret US prison in Afghanistan. Siddiqui has also been identified by her legal team as the mysterious "prisoner 650" at Bagram Air base, a female prisoner in solitary confinement that other prisoners claim to have heard screaming.
Siddiqui's lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, told NPR that she suspects her client was set up. She suspects Siddiqui was being held captive, was dropped off at the compound and then was immediately picked up again with "conveniently incriminating evidence."
Whitfield Sharp says she has proof that Siddiqui was actually being held at Bagram Air Base, in a secret prison in Afghanistan, for the past five years. FBI, Justice Department and CIA officials say unequivocally that they haven't been holding Siddiqui and don't know where she has been the past five years.