Aafia and US terror trials made headlines - Pakistan Today

Aafia and US terror trials made headlines

WASHINGTON – A number of legal cases held in US federal courts caught world attention in 2010, including two high-profile terror trials linked directly to Pakistan-born nationals.
While some argued that legal proceedings relating to terrorism should be conducted by military tribunals, most of these trials took place in New York Civil courts.
One such trial that remained in the media for weeks was that of Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui, when a jury of New Yorkers convicted her in February of grabbing a soldier’s M-4 assault rifle and trying to shoot an assembled group of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and soldiers at an Afghan police compound in July 2008. She was given an 86-year prison sentence on September 23.
The US team had travelled to the compound in Ghazni, Afghanistan, to interview her after she was taken into custody by Afghan authorities, prosecutors said. Aafia was found at the time with materials that included handwritten notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” in the US and that listed several landmark locations in New York City, prosecutors said.
Two months later jurors in the same court house acquitted accused terrorist Ahmed Ghailani of all but one of the 285 counts against him in connection with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and his native Tanzania.
Another case that brought attention to Pakistan was that of failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to 10 federal crimes and offered no regrets.
In October he was sentenced to life in prison. The sentencing came just five months after Shahzad parked an explosives-laden van in New York’s Times Square and tried to detonate a crude bomb.
Prosecutors said Shahzad had already been plotting a second attack before launching the first. He was arrested two days later at NY airport while sitting aboard a plane bound for Dubai. Three Pakistani men were later arrested on charges of arranging introductions between Shahzad and Taliban leaders.
All year long, Republicans had been particularly critical of civilian terror trials, accusing the Obama administration of treating accused terrorists lightly by not seeking justice in military courts.



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