Lawyer says terror suspect was framed

August 13, 2008 6:03:34 PM PDT
A lawyer for a Pakistani woman charged with trying to kill U.S. military officers in a gunfight in Afghanistan accused the government on Wednesday of setting up her client by planting evidence on her. The lawyer, Elizabeth Fink, also accused the U.S. government of trying to poison the court process by leaking information about her client, Aafia Siddiqui, who was brought to the United States a week earlier to face federal charges.

Siddiqui was arrested July 17 after she was found outside a governor's compound in the Ghazni Province with papers describing U.S. landmarks, with bottles and jars of chemicals and with papers telling how to make chemical weapons, said an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in New York.

Siddiqui was shot July 18 after she snatched a soldier's rifle, pointed it at an Army captain and fired two shots, which missed, the affidavit said. Her family has said she is not guilty.

ABC News reported Tuesday that Siddiqui had been carrying maps of New York and a list of potential terrorism targets including the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the subway system and an animal disease center when she was taken into custody last month.

On Wednesday, the network reported that Siddiqui also was plotting to kill former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush and to attack the White House.

Fink said Siddiqui was a victim of dirty tricks by the U.S. government.

"Of course they found all this stuff on her. It was planted on her," Fink said. "She is the ultimate victim of the American dark side."

A government spokeswoman had no comment Wednesday.

Fink said a doctor finally took a look at Siddiqui's bullet wounds on Tuesday after a judge a day earlier ordered the government to permit a doctor to examine her. She said she could not comment on what the doctor found.

Fink said her client had been tortured overseas and was facing continued abuse in the United States.

"I know when people are totally destroyed by torture," she said. "This woman is a total torture victim."

If convicted, Siddiqui faces up to 20 years in prison on an attempted-murder charge and on an assault charge.