Clive Stafford Smith, the attorney for Aafia Siddiqui, has reminded the world about the plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. The Pakistani neuroscientist is currently serving an 86-year sentence in a maximum-security prison in Texas, USA.
In a recent interview, Stafford Smith stated his job was to try and put right what American authorities had done so wrong. According to Stafford Smith, Aafia Siddiqui’s case was particularly difficult because it was not a matter of law but politics.
Stafford Smith, who has been to Guantanamo Bay 42 times and believes he may have seen more of it than any other lawyer, said Aafia was traumatised by what she had been through at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth.
“I’ve been to Guantanamo 42 times. I’ve seen more of Guantanamo than any other lawyer by far, I should imagine, and I’ll say it right here: Aafia is more traumatised by what she’s been through, the torture she’s been through, the abuse she’s been through, losing her children.”
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“It’s not surprising that she’s in a shocking state and the prison is an awful place. It’s a maximum security prison and we talked, she told me about the horrors she’s going through,” said Stafford Smith, speaking about his recent visit.
He is hopeful that Fowzia, Aafia’s sister, will be able to see her in June. He said this will encourage her. He also spoke about the importance of keeping the campaign alive.
“I’m hoping that we’ll get Fowzia to see her in June. I hope that will help encourage Aafia. What really encouraged her was … I told her about what a legend she is in Pakistan. She had felt no one was out there supporting her and I think it was a huge relief to her to learn people are supporting her.”
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He explained that if Aafia were in Guantanamo Bay, it would be far easier to get her out because that situation is all politics and no law at all.
“Where she is now has very little to do with law. She’s been convicted, she’d gone through her appeals. The American system is notoriously disinterested in people who may be totally innocent.”
He explained that there were two sides to this: getting through to people in Pakistan and getting through to people in the US.
“We need to keep on doing that and we need that to try to get her compassionate release to Pakistan. I don’t think it will happen overnight but this is how it works.”
He will visit officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan before engaging with officials back in the United States.