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Pakistan raised issue of respecting Aafia Siddiqui's 'human and legal rights' with US: FO

Pakistan raised issue of respecting Aafia Siddiqui's 'human and legal rights' with US: FO

The government has raised the issue of "respecting the human and legal rights" of Dr Aafia Siddiqui with the United States, the Foreign Office (FO) said on Wednesday.

Dr Aafia, who was convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder and assault of US personnel, is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a US federal prison for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs.

The matter regarding her rights was raised during a meeting held between Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Pakistani officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

"[The] US side has promised to look into our request," FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.

According to the spokesman, the Pakistani government has been raising Dr Aafia's issue with US authorities on a regular basis.

The Pakistani consul general in Houston pays consular visits to the imprisoned neuroscientist periodically to inquire about her well-being and conveys her messages to her family, if any, the spokesperson added.

He announced that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will soon meet Aafia's sister, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, on her request in Islamabad.

On September 23, 2010, a court in New York had sentenced Dr Aafia, an MIT graduate, to 86 years in prison.

Her sympathisers claim that she was arrested in Pakistan and handed over to intelligence agencies who then transferred her into US custody. Both US and Pakistani officials, however, say that she was arrested in Afghanistan.

Dr Aafia allegedly went missing for five years before she was discovered in Afghanistan. It is said that she snatched a gun during interrogation in Ghazni and tried to shoot a US soldier. She has also been accused of working for Al Qaeda.

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