(If you are interested in activism for Dr. Aafia and are in London, please contact me)
The Justice for Aafia Coalition are issuing the following clarification in light of recent statements circulating in the Pakistani media that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has contracted cancer and is pregnant, as a result of sexual abuse whilst in custody.
In early November 2011, Aafia’s family received disturbing reports that Dr. Siddiqui had become pregnant whilst imprisoned in FMC Carswell and that she had undergone a forced abortion and was subsequently haemorrhaging profusely.
It now appears that according to information provided by the Pakistan Consul General in Houston that Aafia is not pregnant. However there is sufficient evidence to suggest she has cancer. After informing Aafia’s family of a letter from the prison regarding her condition, former Pakistan ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani was recalled to Pakistan. Since then the embassy has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
Whilst a request has been made by the Pakistan Consul General Aqil Nadeem to the governor of FMC Carswell to provide medical facilities to Dr Aafia, it provides little guarantee that Dr Siddiqui will receive adequate treatment, given the prison’s notoriety in its treatment of detainees. Over a hundred inmates have reportedly died under ‘questionable circumstances’ at the facility, with numerous cases of sexual abuse and rape perpetrated by prison staff – amongst them, the guards, chaplains and physicians. Gross medical negligence has been noted particularly with reference to several cancer patients in the past; one of whom died after being left untreated for a year.
We join Aafia’s family in their call for an independent and impartial medical team to be allowed full and immediate access to Dr Aafia Siddiqui in FMC Carswell to evaluate her condition.
Further guidance for campaigners will be published in due course.