She was tried in the US District Court in Manhattan and convicted on two counts of attempted murder. As a US-trained scientist, her ‘victims’ were American agents and military officers.
It wasn’t even a plot. She was being interrogated at an Afghan police station when she snatched an unattended rifle and shot at them, yelling, "Death to Americans!"
They fired back and she was wounded. If she was such a huge threat why was she left loose and why was there an unattended rifle around? Why was she taken to the US to face trial? These questions have been posed at different times.
However, the case has always had an undercurrent of the criminal’s instability playing in the background. Now the lawyers have joined in:
"While the degree and extent of Dr. Siddiqui's mental illness has been the subject of much discussion in this case, one thing stands perfectly clear: the victim of Dr. Siddiqui's irrational behaviour is — first and foremost — none other than herself.”
I am not sure whether it will help matters other than to reduce her sentence. The larger issue of whether what she did was a criminal act, whether the FBI and the US agents were authorised to hound her and why, is she being made an example of will remain.
Dr Aafia’s boycott of the trial need not be an instance of mental illness but a genuine need to protest. I understand that her lawyers know how things work and are probably trying to protect her. There are clear divisions in her case and while there are supporters many within her own society, especially the expatriate community, would rather wash their hands off her. Not only has she attempted to kill the good Americans, but it was abuse of authority after the US gave her an education. This is the sort of apologetic stance we have been increasingly seeing.
It is back to the liberal Americans against those lumpens.
I had put forth another view regarding demonisation of violence, and that is not something one can probe but remains at the crux of how certain societies get the boot while others wear the boot straps.