Languages
Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 10:17 UK

Doctor to see Pakistani defendant

Aafia Siddiqui, pictured in custody
Ms Siddiqui's lawyers said she is suffering from abdominal pain

A US judge has ordered that a Pakistani scientist accused of having links to the al-Qaeda leadership should receive urgent medical care.

Aafia Siddiqui has been charged with attempting to kill US troops sent to arrest her in Afghanistan last month.

She appeared at a bail hearing in New York in a wheelchair and looking frail.

Ms Siddiqui was reported to have been shot during the arrest and her lawyers say she has not received medical attention while in custody.

One of her lawyers, Elizabeth Fink, told the judge that Ms Siddiqui, 36, should be taken out of custody and to a hospital.

"She's been here for one week and hasn't seen a doctor, even though they know she has been shot," said Ms Fink.

Another lawyer for Ms Siddiqui, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, said the defendant had been left with large stitches on her torso following surgery and could be suffering from internal bleeding.

"She is complaining of abdominal pain. She understands she lost part of an intestine," said Ms Whitfield Sharp.

US Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman granted the request for medical attention and said Ms Siddiqui should be seen by doctors within 24 hours.

Prosecutor Christopher LaVigne said that the situation was "complicated" and that Ms Siddiqui should be considered a "high-security risk" because of her alleged attack on US personnel.

Ms Fink responded by telling the court: "This is a person who can't walk".

Ms Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison if convicted, but her lawyers have dismissed the charges as ridiculous.

Rights groups say she has spent the last five years in secret US jails.

Torture claims

The US say Ms Siddiqui was married to a nephew of the man accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The mother-of-three, an ex-student at the elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), did not enter a plea at a preliminary hearing on 5 August.

The FBI says Ms Siddiqui was apprehended on 17 July in the Afghan province of Ghazni by local security forces who allegedly found documents including recipes for explosives and chemical weapons in her handbag.

US army officers and FBI agents visited her in detention on 18 July, they say, alleging she seized a US officer's M-4 rifle from behind a screen before opening fire on the Americans.

Aafia Siddiqui's sister, Fauzia, calls for a fair trial

She missed, and was reportedly overpowered after being shot in the chest by US servicemen.

Ms Whitfield Sharp has dismissed the charges as "a tall story" and has said claims by the US that her client had been in hiding for several years were "not credible".

According to her family, Ms Siddiqui has not been seen since returning to Pakistan on a visit from the US in 2003.

They say she is "innocent of any crime" and deny that she has connections to al-Qaeda.

Her sister, Fauzia Siddiqui, claimed in news conference last week that Ms Siddiqui had been tortured for five years before being found by US troops.

A new date for the preliminary hearing has been set for 3 September.

Pakistan's foreign ministry has said they will continue to seek consular access to Ms Siddiqui and are "committed to bringing back all Pakistani detainees".




SEE ALSO
'Al-Qaeda' woman appears in court
05 Aug 08 |  Americas
Mystery of Siddiqui disappearance
06 Aug 08 |  South Asia
Pakistani 'al-Qaeda' woman named
27 May 04 |  South Asia
US al-Qaeda plot suspects
27 May 04 |  Americas
Bin Laden driver trial jury out
04 Aug 08 |  Americas

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific