The prosecution in the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Tuesday presented their final witness who again alleged that she grabbed the Chief Warrant Officer’s M-4 rifle, and fired at the US officials at the Afghan National Police headquarters on July 18th, 2008.
During the past six days of the trial in the Southern District of New York the government has tried to make a case on seven counts, based on alleged events that occurred at an Afghan National Police Compound in Ghazni, Afghanistan on July 17 and 18, 2008.
The charges stem from Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest on July 17, 2008 by the ANP in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
Government witnesses testified that the ANP recovered a number of items from Dr. Aafia Siddiqui certain of which were provided to the United States military including a number of handwritten and pre-printed documents, chemical compound that tested positive for sodium cyanide, and a computer thumb drive which contained various electronic documents.
Government witnesses have testified that after initial review of these items, the United States military contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in interviewing Dr. Siddiqui.
Government witnesses also testified that on July 18th 2008 a team of United States military personnel and two FBI agents traveled to the ANP headquarters to with the intention of interviewing Dr. Siddiqui.
Every government witness testified that the US team was directed to a second floor room of the ANP Headquarters in Ghazni. However all the eyewitnesses gave conflicting accounts as to exactly what happened on key issues, such as who was seated where; where the M4 rifle was placed, and the sequence of events before during and after the shooting.
Although the prosecution has argued that its very common for eyewitnesses to recall events differently, a majority of the Governments witnesses also gave testimony that conflicted with their own sworn statements given just days after the incident to FBI agents.
During cross examination Special Agent Eric Negron said a thought had crossed his mind that this could had been a set-up by the ANP. But, he did not mentioned this critical thought in anyone of his subsequent statements – not in July, August or December.
Just like the US Warrant Officer who shot Dr. Siddiqui, FBI Special Agent Negron was also not able to explain statements he gave earlier regarding the incident which significantly differed from his testimony at trial.
The Prosecution also presented their 2nd Afghan Eyewittness, a 25 year old interpreter who works for the U.S. Military through a private contractor. He had been working for the army since he was 20 years old and was so influenced by his work for the military that he could not refrain from using a variety of military jargon, unknown to most lay people. When he wanted to answer no, he said “negative”. When he wanted to answer, yes he said “Roger”.
In his testimony the “terp” (interpreter) as he refers to himself, placed the M4 rifle and Chief Warrant Officer in a different location from where the Officer himself had testified to. Moreover, when he was asked if he heard Siddiqui say “I want to kill Americans”, “Allah Akbar”, or “May the blood of…”, as she allegedly pointed the rifle he confidently said “No”.
A major inconsistency was noted in Sgt. Williams testimony who clearly remembered female Medic, Rene Card to be standing outside just steps behind him – not in the room as she had earlier testified. In her testimony Medic Card had contradicted prior witnesses who had placed the M4 rifle and relevant witnesses at differing locations at the scene.
Sgt. Cook who stood outside the ANP compound said he heard gun shots from the room on the second floor. He did not see Dr. Siddiqui with the gun or shooting a M4 rifle. He said he went to get the stretcher – but Dr. Siddiqui was already brought outside. This contradicts Medic Card who had testified she brought the stretcher in the room and had placed Dr. Siddiqui on the stretcher in the room.
Not two Government witnesses in past six days have provided a consistent account of the shooting incident. No physical evidence was provided to substantiate Dr. Siddiqui shot the rifle.