Pakistani scientist gets 86 years for firing at US troops

Pakistani scientist gets 86 years for firing at US troops

Pakistani scientist gets 86 years for firing at US troops

"I am a Muslim, but I love Americans too," Aafia Siddiqui said during one of several rambling statements delivered in a lilting voice at the behest of US District Judge Richard M. Berman.

"Forgive everybody in my case, please," she added. "Also forgive Judge Berman."
During a three-hour hearing in federal court in Manhattan, Siddiqui claimed she had evidence Israel was behind the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and warned more plots were in the works.

"I do not want any bloodshed. I do not want any misunderstanding. I really want to make peace and end the wars," she said.

Siddiqui rolled her eyes, shook her head and threw up her hand in frustration as her lawyers tried to convince the judge she deserved leniency because she was mentally ill.
"I'm not paranoid," she said at one point. "I don't agree with that."
She also tried to dispel rumours she was being tortured while in New York, and urged calm over her plight.

"Tell the Muslims, please don't get emotional," she said, addressing reporters in the audience. "I'm OK. ... I do not want any violence in my name."

News of the harsh sentence still touched off protests in Pakistan. In the northwestern city of Peshawar, dozens of people took to the streets, burning tires and shouting "Down with America!" and slogans against Pakistani's president and prime minister. Some hit a portrait of US President Barack Obama with their shoes.

"This sentence is a slap in the face of our rulers who have pledged and made promises to bring back Aafia," Siddiqui's sister Fauzia said at her home in the southern city of Karachi.
The Pakistani government, which helped bankroll Siddiqui's defence, was "disappointed at the sentence and sad that our efforts to get her back to Pakistan did not succeed," said foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit.

"We are in touch with the US administration to see what possible options are available. We are not giving up."

The sentence imposed on the mother of three capped a strange legal odyssey that began two summers ago, when the 38-year-old Siddiqui turned up in Afghanistan carrying notes referencing a "mass casualty attack" on New York City landmarks and a stash of sodium cyanide.