If NOT, this is why YOU SHOULD
Assalaamu Alaikum (Greetings of Peace):
This is coming to our readers from Southern New England.
When I last checked the signature count on the White House Petition for Aafia at 9:00 this morning, the count was at 41,898. I was both pleased and disappointed. I appreciated the fact that 41,898 people had made the effort to sign the petition; I was disappointed that half way into the 30 day limit we had not yet acquired half (50,000 signatures) of what we need to achieve the final goal of 100,000 signatures within a 30 day period. Consequently, I thought this would be a good time to share a few thoughts on why this petition drive is so important.
This Petition Drive will NOT be a Silver Bullet
Even if we double the number of signatures needed for this online mobilization, we do not expect that our sister will be released as a result of this White House petition alone. We do expect, however, that this petition (if successful) will serve four important objectives toward that ultimate goal, insha’Allah:
(1) It will officially answer the question that I often get in my travels around the US – “Does President Obama know about Aafia Siddiqui?”
(2) It will provide observers with a visible yardstick by which to measure public support for Aafia OUTSIDE OF PAKISTAN (where support for Aafia among the masses is very, very strong).
(3) If successful, it will provide members of the Muslim community, and supportive activists outside of our community, with a much needed sense of accomplishment/empowerment.
(4) Most importantly, it will educate a lot of people (including Muslims) on who Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is, where she is, and how she came to be where she is! The petition also speaks to the political nature of her case.
Below is a report, out of Pakistan, on a recent appeals court decision on Aafia’s plight. I wasn’t surprised by the decision at all (I would have been shocked had it gone the other way)! Read the report and then reflect over my closing argument/request.
US trial judge denies Aafia’s plea
Posted about 20 hours ago | Onepakistannews
Karachi, Aafia Movement Pakistan here Tuesday regretted that the U.S. judge who presided over Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s criminal trial has denied Dr. Siddiqui’s request that he recuse himself from presiding over her newly filed legal case that seeks to overturn her conviction and sentence.
In a release issue here, they said that the Law Office of Tina Foster has announced that Dr. Siddiqui’s attorney in the case, Mr. Robert Boyle, appeared in court today and argued that having the case reassigned to a different judge would help ensure that she receives a fair and just evaluation of her legal arguments.
Dr. Siddiqui’s new legal challenge to her conviction (a motion to vacate pursuant to section 2255) argues that she was denied her constitutional right to counsel when the trial judge, Judge Richard Berman, forced her to be represented by attorneys that were not acting in her interest. Dr. Siddiqui’s trial attorneys were hired by the government of Pakistan, which, evidence shows, was responsible for her 2003 unlawful abduction and subsequent five-year-long secret detention.
Dr. Siddiquis case requires Judge Berman to determine whether it was proper for him to permit the attorneys hired by the Government of Pakistan to represent Dr. Siddiqui over her repeated objections. It also requires Judge Berman to determine whether those attorneys had an actual conflict of interest, notwithstanding their assurances to represent only Dr. Siddiqui’s interests.
In legal papers, Mr. Boyle argued that it would be especially improper for these determinations to be made by the same judge who, while the trial was ongoing, had a private meeting with Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani. Ambassador Haqqani was personally responsible for negotiating and executing the agreement between the trial attorneys and the government of Pakistan.
In denying the request, Judge Berman described his meeting with Ambassador Haqqani as nothing more than a brief exchange of pleasantries. He ruled that the meeting was not improper and will not hinder the appearance of fairness as he continues to preside over Dr. Siddiquis case.
Judge Berman has set a deadline of August 18, 2014, for the government to respond to Dr. Siddiqui’s motion to vacate her conviction.
Judge Richard Berman, a jurist with well known Zionist leanings (which were apparent during the trial) was openly biased and strongly pro-prosecutionthroughout the court proceedings. Former Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani was later discovered to have quietly said and done things that hindered public support from coming to Aafia. With this being the case, it stands to reason that Haqqani’s private meeting(s) with Judge Berman, and private consultations with Aafia’s attorneys (ostensibly on her behalf), were NOT in Aafia’s interest.
As this writer has already stated in the past, in both writings and speech, while Aafia had highly experienced attorneys – who were paid well by a duplicitous Pakistani government – they did a poor job in the opinion of many observers (including this writer) representing Aafia. Their individual reputations and the fact that a Muslim organization, the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), had a hand in their selection made NO difference whatsoever! (In fact, it may have provided convenient cover for theappearance of a fair process.)
Berman’s decision not to recuse himself from any further dealings with this case comes as no surprise; nor will this writer be surprised if the next rung of the appeals process concurs with Berman’s decision (the federal judiciary is an exclusive fraternity of largely like-minded thinkers after all). I am convinced that at the end of the day it will be a political decision (coming through the prism of political pressure) that will give long overdue relief to this political prisoner. (ALLAH knows best.)
This is why the White House petition drive is so important…it represents an important step toward that end. Now what will YOU DO to help make a difference?!
In the struggle for peace thru justice,
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
Have YOU signed the Petition, and encouraged others to do the same?
THE WHITE HOUSE PETITION DRIVE
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, imprisoned for more than 11 years, as a matter of urgency.
In the name of ALLAH, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful. We appeal to you as brothers and sisters in humanity to relieve the suffering of an innocent woman. In March 2003, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was abducted with her three young children in Pakistan on the basis of faulty intelligence, a rendition operation that a former Pakistani official has since admitted. Five years later she mysteriously reappeared in a weakened state in Afghanistan; she was shot and later charged in a federal court with attempted murder. Dr. Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years for a “crime” in which she alone was injured, she has now suffered needlessly for more than 11 years. We ask the government to affirm the American ideals of “liberty and justice for all.” End Aafia’s suffering; reunite her with her family.
Please click on either link to register your conscience on this issue:
Have you made a monetary contribution to The Ramadan Political Prisoner Awareness Campaign? If not please consider doing so today.
For any questions on the US branch of this international “Free Aafia” campaign: