"Lady al Qaida" Booted From Her Trial (Again) - NBC New York

"Lady al Qaida" Booted From Her Trial (Again)



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    This undated FBI handout photo shows Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who at one time studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced on May 26, 2004 that Siddiqui is being pursued by the FBI for questioning about possible contacts with al-Qaida. (Photo by FBI via Getty Images)

    There's a pattern emerging in the attempted murder trial of suspected al Qaida operative Aafia Siddiqui, who allegedly opened fire on Americans in Afghanistan

    The defendant can't keep quiet. After a day and a half of sitting patiently in court, the 37-year-old U.S.-trained Pakistani neuroscientist interrupted her trial with yet another outburst, this time to complain her lawyers won't let her testify on her own behalf. 

    "If you follow the mercy of mankind ... they want to take away my right to testify. I've asked for it," Siddiqui told those gathered in the court Friday during a break in session, reports the Daily News, before pleading with the U.S. marshals who moved to take her to a holding cell outside the trial room.

    "I am not an enemy. I didn't shoot anyone. I can bring peace with Afghanistan and the Taliban in one day, God willing," she said.  

    Siddiqui returned to court Wednesday after getting kicked out of her own trial a day earlier for calling a witness a liar. Wearing white, she draped herself over the defense table as she had in the past. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman warned her that he wanted no more outbursts, but Siddiqui only obliged for less than 48 hours.

    The suspect's attorney told the News "it remains to be seen" whether Siddiqui will testify in her defense. Judge Berman has said that she has the prerogative to do so, but is not required by law. Siddiqui has constantly complained that she doesn't trust her defense team, and threatens to boycott her own trial. 

    Prosecutors allege Siddiqui, while detained in a tiny room full of Afghan and U.S. personnel on July 18, 2008, grabbed a chief warrant officer's unattended assault rifle and shot at them before she suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach. The reputed al-Qaida supporter has vehemently denied any wrongdoing often in courtroom tirades.

    One outburst followed testimony by an Army captain that Afghan police discovered in Siddiqui's purse handwritten notes mentioning a massive attack and listing landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street.

    "I was never planning a bombing! You're lying!" the 37-year-old Siddiqui yelled as she was rushed out of court on Tuesday, the first day of trial.