News

Siddiqui ’95 loses appeal before 2nd Circuit

Remains sentenced to 86 years in prison for assaulting US officer in Afghanistan

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: This brief misstates the number of judges who authored the decision. It was a three-judge panel, not a two-judge panel.

Siddiqui ’95 loses appeal before 2nd Circuit

Remains sentenced to 86 years in prison for assaulting US officer in Afghanistan

Aafia Siddiqui ’95 lost her appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday morning. She was convicted in February 2010, and then appealed.

Siddiqui was arrested in July of 2008 in Afghanistan while carrying a handbag full of terrorist paraphernalia. While in custody she shot at U.S. personnel with an M4 assault rifle she picked up off the floor of an interrogation room, and was subsequently remanded into U.S. custody.

In a 42-page decision, a two-judge panel rejected her appeal yesterday on two principal grounds. Firstly, Siddiqui had argued that she could not be charged with attempted murder (18 USC §2332(b)) without a written certification from the Attorney General. Noting that such a certification was filed the same day as the indictment was filed, the appeals court rejected this reasoning.

Secondly, Siddiqui argued that the remaining six counts against her did not apply outside the United States "in an active theater of war." The court found this "without merit," noting that "Congress has the authority to enforce its laws beyond the territorial boundaries of the United States."

While she is unlikely to prevail on any further appeal, Siddiqui could conceivably request an en banc hearing of her case before the entire Second Circuit; she could also petition the Supreme Court. She is unlikely to prevail under either route.

—John A. Hawkinson

1 Comment
1
James Herms over 5 years ago

The author (John Hawkinson '98) was arrested in July of 2002 at Logan International while attempting to carry-on a knife with a 2-3/8" blade. While undergoing screening he quarreled with security personnel, and was subsequently taken into custody.

Hawkinson's Alumni Directory profile says "No Degree Listed from Registrar"; his People Directory listing says "MIT Affiliate." He doesn't appear to be a student or an alum.

-James K. Herms '87

herms at alum.mit.edu