In an attempt to maintain pressure on the Pakistani government to secure the return to Pakistan of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the neuroscientist who, in September, was sentenced in New York to 86 years in prison, the Justice for Aafia Coalition is holding a week-long series of events around the world, entitled “Bring Aafia Home.”
As part of this series of events, the JFAC will be demonstrating outside the Pakistan Embassy in London at 1 pm on Sunday November 14. The embassy is at 34-36 Lowndes Square, London, SW1X 9JN, and the nearest underground station is Knightsbridge.
I have previously written at length about the distressing case of Aafia Siddiqui — the punitive sentence, the murky circumstances of her capture in Afghanistan in 2008 and her rendition to the US, the five lost years when, it appears, she was held in the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, and the fate of her three young children — and I was delighted to be asked to take part in the event in London on Sunday to raise awareness of Dr. Siddiqui’s case, and to highlight the disturbing conditions in which she is currently held, in the Federal Medical Facility in Carswell, Texas, a notorious establishment described in an article by Yvonne Ridley for Cageprisoners as the “Hospital of horror.”
I’m also pleased to report that amongst the many speakers are Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, two former Guantánamo prisoners whom I had the pleasure of interviewing live at a previous event for Dr. Siddiqui in east London in September. Videos of that interview, for those who are interested in hearing disturbing first-hand accounts of torture and abuse in the US prisons in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo, are available here.
The list of speakers on Sunday is as follows:
1.00pm: Introduction by Abdul Jaleel (JFAC). Statement of Support from Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
1.05pm: Chris Nineham, Stop the War Coalition
1.15pm: Andy Worthington, Journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files
1.25pm: Jamal Harwood, Writer
1.35pm: Rabia Zia, UK Coordinator, PTI UK
1.45pm: Yaqub AbduSalaam, Poet
1.50pm: Massoud Shadjareh, Chair, Islamic Human Rights Commission
2.00pm: Ilyas Townsend, JFAC
2.10pm: Adnan Rashid, Hittin Institute
2.20pm: Ustadh Abdullah Hasan, Islamic Forum Europe
2.30pm: Poet Razette, Poet
2.35pm: Imam Wasim Kempson, Patron, HHUGS
2.45pm: Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, former Guantánamo prisoners
2.55pm: Ustadh Uthman Lateef, Hittin Institute
3.05pm: Conclusion by Abdul Jaleel
For further information, please contact the Justice for Aafia Coalition.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, Zeeshan Kureshi wrote:
Way to go Andy. You are working harder to get Aafia Siddiqui back home than most Pakistanis themselves.
Hello Andy and Readers.
Thanx for this ongoing work and attention to so many and recently again on behalf of Aafia.
Do you or anyone who sees this know of any reports on the most recent event of Sunday November 14?
[...] — I was one of a number of speakers who gathered outside the Pakistani embassy for an event, “Bring Aafia Home,” which was organized by the Justice for Aafia Coalition, to urge the Pakistani government to do [...]
Thanx, Andy for making accessible all this urgent and important info re. Dr. Aafia and many others. Most helpful!
Have a satisfying Human Rights Day…
Thanks, Connie. I’ll do my best. Raising Shaker Aamer’s case at a Human Rights Film Festival at Roehampton University this evening, at a screening of “Outside the Law” with Polly Nash and Omar Deghayes. I also have leaflets and cards about Aafia’s case.
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