Who is Aafia Siddiqui?
Aafia Siddiqui AH-fee-ah-see-DEE-kee is a Pakistani who studied neuroscience in the United States. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1990 and obtained a Ph.D. in 2001 from Brandeis University. In early 2003, Siddiqui returned to Pakistan. In March 2003, she was named as a courier and financier for al-Qaida by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and was placed on a "wanted for questioning" list by the FBI. She subsequently disappeared until she was arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with documents and notes for making bombs plus containers of sodium cyanide. Siddiqui was indicted in New York federal district court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault stemming from an incident in an interview with U.S. authorities in Ghazni, charges which Siddiqui denied. After 18 months in detention, she was tried and convicted in early 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison. Throughout the trial, the Pakistani government supported Siddiqui, and her conviction resulted in some protests in Pakistan. Various media reports have also highlighted differences in how the case was portrayed in the U.S. and in Pakistan.
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