PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced today that AAFIA
SIDDIQUI was found guilty in Manhattan federal court on charges
related to the attempted murder and assault of U.S. nationals and
U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan. SIDDIQUI was found
guilty of all charges against her following a 14-day jury trial
before United States District Judge RICHARD M. BERMAN in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal
court and evidence presented at trial:
On July 17, 2008, SIDDIQUI was detained by Afghan
authorities, who found a number of items in her possession,
including handwritten notes that referred to a “mass casualty
attack” and that listed various locations in the United States,
including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of
Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Other notes in
SIDDIQUI’s possession referred to the construction of “dirty
bombs,” and discussed various ways to attack “enemies,”
including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater
bombs, and using gliders.
The next day, on July 18, 2008, a team of U.S.
servicemen and law enforcement officers, and others assisting
them, attempted to interview SIDDIQUI in Ghazni, Afghanistan,
where she had been detained by local police the day before. The
U.S. interview team included, among others: three officers and
employees of the U.S. Army; two officers and employees of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation; and two U.S. Army contract
The interview of SIDDIQUI was to take place at an
Afghan police compound in Ghazni. In a second-floor meeting room
at the compound — where SIDDIQUI was being held, unbeknownst to
the U.S. interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain — SIDDIQUI
grabbed a U.S. Army officer’s M-4 rifle and fired it at another
U.S. Army officer and other members of U.S. interview team.
During the shooting, SIDDIQUI exclaimed her intent and desire to
SIDDIQUI then assaulted one of the U.S. Army
interpreters, as he attempted to obtain the M-4 rifle from her.
SIDDIQUI subsequently assaulted one of the FBI agents and one of
the U.S. Army officers, as they attempted to subdue her.
The evidence at trial showed that, while a student in
Boston, Massachusetts, she had undertaken training and
instruction on the handling and shooting of firearms.
* * *
On August 4, 2008, SIDDIQUI was brought from
Afghanistan to Manhattan federal court to face a criminal
indictment obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the
Southern District of New York. Trial began on January 13, 2010,
and concluded today with the jury reaching a guilty verdict on
all counts. Specifically, the jury convicted SIDDIQUI of the
following crimes: (1) one count of attempting to kill U.S.
nationals outside the United States; (2) one count of attempting
to kill U.S. officers and employees; (3) one count of armed
assault of U.S. officers and employees; (4) one count of using
and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of
violence; and (5) three counts of assault of U.S. officers and
SIDDIQUI, 37, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6,
2010. SIDDQIUI faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on
each of the attempted murder and armed assault charges; life in
prison on the firearm charge; and eight years in prison on each
of the remaining assault charges. SIDDIQUI faces a mandatory
minimum sentence of 30 years in prison on the firearm charge.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the New
York Joint Terrorism Task Force — which principally consists of
agents of the FBI and detectives of the New York City Police
Department. He also expressed his gratitude to the U.S.
Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the U.S.
Department of State for their assistance in the case.
“Today, a jury has brought Aafia Siddiqui to justice in
a court of law for trying to murder American military and law
enforcement officers, as well as their Afghan colleagues. We are
grateful for the efforts of the New York Joint Terrorism Task
Force in this important case,” said U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism
and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States
Attorneys CHRISTOPHER L. LAVIGNE, DAVID M. RODY, and JENNA M.
DABBS are in charge of the prosecution.