Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Pakistan ruling on terror suspect

Aafia Siddiqui, pictured in custody
Accounts differ as to how Aafia Siddiqui ended up in American custody

A Pakistani court has directed the government to speed up efforts to repatriate an alleged al-Qaeda operative held in US custody.

Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui has been charged with attempting to kill US troops sent to arrest her when she was in Afghanistan in July last year.

In November a US court ruled that her "mental disease" meant she was unfit to stand trial.

Dr Siddiqui is thought to be currently being held in New York.

Family's denial

Islamabad's High Court has now issued directives to recover Dr Siddiqui.

"The government is directed to ensure that the foreign ministry moves quickly to bring Dr Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan," the court said in its judgement.

The court also directed the government to approach the International Court of Justice if talks with US authorities on the matter failed.

The court also instructed the government to immediately determine the whereabouts of two of Dr Siddiqui's children who remain missing.

Dr Siddiqui went missing from her home in Karachi with her three children in 2003.

Her movements until 2008 are uncertain.

In that year Yvonne Ridley, a western aid worker and journalist, alleged Dr Siddiqui was being held at Bagram airbase near Kabul.

The FBI then said Dr Siddiqui was arrested on 17 July 2008 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.

Dr Siddiqui was transferred to the US in August last year. A court there concluded she was unable to understand the nature and consequences of court proceedings and could not assist properly in her defence.

One of her children who was with her at the time of her arrest has been handed over to her family in Pakistan.

The family denies the entire series of events since her capture.

They say she and her children were kidnapped by Pakistani security personnel and later handed over to US authorities.

Dr Siddiqui's family have demanded she and her missing children be returned to Pakistan.

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