Pakistan Foreign Office clarifies reports on attack against Dr Afia Siddiqui in US prison

Pakistan Foreign Office clarifies reports on attack against Dr Afia Siddiqui in US prison

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, spokesperson for Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO), said on Saturday that Dr Aafia Siddiqui "received some minor injuries" after an assault by a fellow inmate in a Texas prison.

"Our consul general in Houston visited Dr Siddiqui immediately to ascertain her wellbeing. She had received some minor injuries but was doing fine," said Chaudhri, in response to media queries regarding her wellbeing.

Dr Siddiqui’s lawyer had said a day earlier that she suffered serious burn injuries on her face and nearly lost her eyesight when a fellow inmate threw a mug of scalding hot liquid in her face.

The FO spokesperson said the attack on Dr Siddiqui, who is serving her 86-year sentence at FMC Carswell prison in Fort Worth, Texas, was carried out on July 30. He said, "Our Embassy in Washington DC as well as our Consulate General in Houston immediately took up the matter with the concerned US authorities."

The spokesperson said that Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry lodged a formal complaint with the relevant US authorities, urging them "to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure safety and wellbeing of Dr Siddiqui".

He said that both the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC and the Consulate General of Pakistan in Houston "continue making every effort to ensure that Dr Siddiqui is properly looked after during her incarceration at FMC Carswell”.

Dr Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist jailed in the United States, was indicted by a New York federal district court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault, stemming from an incident during an interview with the US authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Dr Siddiqui however denies the charges.

After 18 months in detention, she was tried and convicted in early 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison. She has since been imprisoned in the US.