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US finds Pakistani scientist guilty
Aafia Siddiqui convicted of shooting at US interrogators while in Afghan detention.
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2010 23:11 GMT
Siddiqui was charged with seven counts, including attempted murder and assault [AP]

A US-trained Pakistani scientist has been convicted of attempted murder for shooting at her US interrogators while being detained in Afghanistan in 2008.

A New York court found Aafia Siddiqui guilty on Wednesday, three days after a 12-member jury deliberated her case and reaching a unanimous verdict.

Siddiqui, 37, was charged with seven counts, including attempted murder and assault.

Although guilty on two attempted murder counts, the jury said she did not commit the crime with premeditation.

She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

While the jury exited the court room, Siddiqui yelled: "This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America. Your anger should be directed where it belongs. I can testify to this and I have proof."

'No evidence'

Siddiqui grabbed a US warrant officer's rifle while she was detained for questioning in July 2008 in Afghanistan's Ghazni province and fired at FBI agents and military personnel as she was wrestled to the ground.

None of the US agents or personnel were injured but Siddiqui, who the US government has accused of links with al-Qaeda, was shot.

Siddiqui was arrested by Afghan police, who said she was carrying containers of chemicals and notes referring to mass-casualty attacks and New York landmarks.

She was not charged in connection with those materials and the charges she was convicted of do not mention terrorism.

Instead, the case centred on an incident the next day in the Afghan police compound, where US soldiers and FBI agents sought to question her.

"She saw her chance to kill Americans and she took it," Christopher LaVigne, the assistant US attorney, told jurors.

"Not only did she have the motive and intent to harm the United States, she had the know-how to do it."

Linda Moreno, Siddiqui's defence lawyer, said there was no evidence the rifle had ever been fired, since no bullets, shell casings or bullet debris were recovered and no bullet holes detected.

Moreno also said the testimony of the government's six eye-witnesses contradicted one another on Siddiqui's location in the 28sq m room, the number of bullets fired and who was present.

"The government has cast Aafia Siddiqui as some sort of Rambo type," Moreno said.

"Let's leave behind the fear and talk about what the evidence tells us."

Source:
Agencies
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