* Security official says federal prosecutors concerned that Dr Aafia's case is being oversold as coup against terrorism
LAHORE: The United States military has rejected claims that Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui, who has been missing for the past five years, was being illegally detained and tortured, a report in the Christian Science Monitor said on Friday.
The report said, Siddiqui appeared before a US court in Brooklyn, New York, last week on charges of attempting to murder American servicemen in an Afghanistan shooting incident.
But her first court appearance has raised disturbing questions about her treatment and the conduct of the war on terror, with lawyers claiming she was secretly arrested five years ago, tortured by Afghan and US officials, and framed for crimes she did not commit.
The charges are the latest wrinkle in a case that has pitted the governments of the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan against Siddiqui's family and lawyers as well as international human rights groups.
Agence France-Presse reports that the US military has rejected claims that Siddiqui was being held in military detention during the five years she was missing, the report said.
"She has never been held in US military custody," spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Rumi Nielson-Green told AFP.
Extraordinary: But outside observers have begun to doubt the credibility of the US military's claims.
Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific director for Amnesty International, called the government's account "extraordinary" in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR).
"It seems extraordinary to imagine that four US agents who'd gone to pick her up, two military, two FBI, along with at least two Afghan translators, were somehow surprised by this woman, who overpowered them, grabbed a gun, flipped the safety, fired off a couple of shots, and then could only be subdued by shots to the torso," said [Zarifi].
"If the story suggested by the US government is accurate, it paints a very unflattering picture of the competence of forces who are literally on the frontlines of the 'war on terror'," he said. "If the US story is not true, then we're looking at a serious breach of US and international law when a prisoner in custody is shot."
Coup: 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."
At a hearing on 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. The FBI, the 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. daily times monitor
Pakistan Dawn, Pakistan - 2 hours ago
By Masood Haider NEW YORK, Aug 15: Elizabeth Fink, the attorney for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman charged by the US authorities with trying to kill US ...
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