US Attorney Charges Afghan Woman With Attempting to Kill US Officers

LawFuel – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, MARK J. MERSHON, the Assistant
Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (“FBI”), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police
Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the arrest
of AAFIA SIDDIQUI on charges related to her attempted murder and
assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan.
SIDDIQUI arrived in New York this evening and will be presented
tomorrow before a United States Magistrate Judge in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:
On July 17, 2008, officers of the Ghazni Province
Afghanistan National Police (“ANP”) observed SIDDIQUI outside the
Ghazni governor’s compound. ANP officers questioned SIDDIQUI,
regarded her as suspicious, and searched her handbag. In it,
they found numerous documents describing the creation of
explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal.
SIDDIQUI’s papers included descriptions of various landmarks in
the United States, including in New York City. SIDDIQUI was also
in possession of substances that were sealed in bottles and glass
jars.

On July 18, 2008, a party of United States personnel,
including two FBI special agents, a United States Army Warrant
Officer, a United States Army Captain, and United States military
interpreters, arrived at the Afghan facility where SIDDIQUI was
being held. The personnel entered a second floor meeting room —
unaware that SIDDIQUI was being held there, unsecured, behind a
curtain.

The Warrant Officer took a seat and placed his United
States Army M-4 rifle on the floor next to the curtain. Shortly
after the meeting began, the Captain heard a woman yell from the
curtain and, when he turned, saw SIDDIQUI holding the Warrant
Officer’s rifle and pointing it directly at the Captain.
SIDDIQUI said, “May the blood of [unintelligible] be directly on
your [unintelligible, possibly head or hands].” The interpreter
seated closest to SIDDIQUI lunged at her and pushed the rifle
away as SIDDIQUI pulled the trigger. SIDDIQUI fired at least two
shots but no one was hit. The Warrant Officer returned fire with
a 9 mm service pistol and fired approximately two rounds at
SIDDIQUI’s torso, hitting her at least once.

Despite being shot, SIDDIQUI struggled with the
officers when they tried to subdue her; she struck and kicked
them while shouting in English that she wanted to kill Americans.
After being subdued, SIDDIQUI temporarily lost consciousness.
The agents and officers then rendered medical aid to SIDDIQUI.
SIDDIQUI, a 36-year-old Pakistani woman who previously
resided in the United States, is charged in a criminal Complaint
filed in the Southern District of New York with one count of
attempting to kill United States officers and employees and one
count of assaulting United States officers and employees. If
convicted, SIDDQIUI faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in
prison on each charge.

Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the Joint
Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”), the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and New York City Police Department. He also
expressed his gratitude to the Office of International Affairs of
the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice
and the United States Department of State for their assistance in
the case. Mr. GARCIA also thanked the United States Attorney’s
Office for the District of Massachusetts for their assistance.
Mr. GARCIA said that the investigation is continuing.
Assistant United States Attorney CHRISTOPHER L. LAVIGNE
is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint
are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty.
08-195 ###

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