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US Court Indicts Pakistani Scientist on Murder, Assault Charges

  • VOA News

A U.S. court has indicted a Pakistani woman, suspected of links to al-Qaida, on charges of attempted murder and assault of U.S. federal agents in Afghanistan.

Aafia Siddiqui, a U.S.-educated scientist, is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on September fourth in the U.S. District Court in New York City.

The charges against her include attempted murder, assault, and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. If convicted, she could face life in prison.

The incident involving Siddiqui and U.S. federal agents and army officers happened a day after Afghan police detained her in July.

Prosecutors allege Siddiqui grabbed a U.S. soldier's rifle and shot at U.S. agents preparing to question her about suspected ties to al-Qaida. She was shot and wounded by one of the U.S. officers who tried to subdue her.

U.S. prosecutors say that when Afghan police detained Siddiqui, she was carrying handwritten notes referring to a "mass casualty attack" and listing several U.S. landmarks, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

In 2004, U.S. authorities accused Siddiqui of helping al-Qaida operatives sent to the U.S. by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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