Karachi: Noted American lawyers disclosed here on Sunday that 94% of persons persecuted in the US on terrorism charges innocent, adding Pakistani mother Dr Aafia Siddiqui was also wrongly charged and outrageously sentenced.
Albany attorneys, Stephen Downs and Kathy Manley, addressing a crowded press conference in Karachi Press Club (KPC) said that according to a study of Project SALAM (Support And Legal Advocacy for Muslims) and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) on the US government’s post-9/11 strategy in domestic terrorism cases, it was found that majority of the cases including Dr Aafia were unfairly prosecuted.
They said the war on terror has been largely a charade designed to make the American public believe that a terrorist army is loose in the U.S., when the truth is that most of the people convicted of terrorism-related crimes posed no danger to the U.S. and were entrapped by a preventive strategy known as preemptive prosecution.
Stephen Downs and Kathy Manley are also co-authors of a new study “Inventing Terrorists: The Law fare of Preemptive Prosecution”, a detailed study about the US government’s post-9/11 strategy of preemptive prosecution of domestic terrorism cases. It is the first study (http://www.projectsalam.org/Inventing-Terrorists-study.pdf) to directly examine and critique preemptive prosecution and its abuses.
They said that the preemptive prosecution is “a law enforcement strategy…to target and prosecute individuals or organizations whose beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations raise security concerns for the government.” They said Inventing Terrorists draws on the metaphor of “law fare”––the use of the law as a weapon of war––to detail the government’s deliberate use of preemptive prosecution and associated legal tactics.
They said the US government has used preemptive prosecution to exaggerate the threat of Muslim extremism to the security of the country. They said their study compares a list of 399 “official” terrorism cases published by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010 to a unique database of terrorism cases from 2001 to the present, compiled by Project SALAM, to categorize, analyze, and re-think terrorism prosecutions across America.
A compelling statistic that emerges from analysis of the 399 cases shows that 94% were either preemptive prosecution cases or cases that contained significant elements of preemptive prosecution. The study makes a firm distinction between individuals who represented real security threats to the nation and those who were preemptively prosecuted and never represented any threat.
“The most well-known example is that of the Political prisoner Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Though her case is not much different from thousands of others, Aafia is the most important political prisoner in the world. It involves not only justice but Mercy also. Here innocent little children were involved, and Aafia ranks number two in our study.”
They said the Aafia’s case is one of the main reasons for our visit to Pakistan. It’s one of the most horrific and disturbing cases, and we hope to do our share in assisting the family and in efforts to repatriate Aafia.
They said there are many ways that Aafia can be repatriated but first Pakistan has to officially demand her return, which surprisingly the Government of Pakistan has still not done. “During our brief stay we have noticed the overwhelming support and love that ordinary Pakistani citizens have for Aafia. We hope to help take this process further by meeting various officials in the government.”
Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui of Aafia Movement on the occasion appealed to Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to officially demand from the government of United States of America repatriation of Pakistani mother Dr Aafia Siddiqui so that she could rejoin her children and family.
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