A drive to free jailed Pakistani scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, gained momentum in South Africa today, after hundreds of protesters marched to the US consulate in sandton, north of Johannesburg. Protesters demanded the US Government to release Aafia.
‘‘We wish to thank all those who participated in today’s march in support of our sister Aafia’’ said, Inayet Wadee, Spokesperson for the free Aafia campaign in South Africa.
Wadee described today’s March as a success ‘‘many people attended the march and US officials at the consulate warmly welcomed us before receiving our memorandum’’ the activist said.
Wadee hopes Aafia will get the justice she deserves, because she was imprisoned for a crime she did not do.
‘‘The local media in South Africa has also picked interest in this issue. Today I was interviewed by a number of media houses wishing to know more about Aafia’s Plight’’ he said.
Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, was sentenced to 86 years in September 2010 for allegedly trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents in 2008 while in custody at a police station in Afghanistan.
However, human rights activists and family sources say her conviction was politicised.
‘‘My sister was jailed for no reason. She was a loving person and this whole issue is politicised’’Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, a sister to Aafia said.
According to Dr. Fowzia, the judge in the case, Richard Berman, was allegedly compelled to issue the harsh sentence of 86 years upon Aafia, because she had exposed the violence and torture she was made to endure while in US custody.
“They made her strip naked and they forced her to walk over the Quran. She would not be given her clothes back if she did not do it.” She tearfully said in an interview.