Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Aafia Siddiqi trial a 'travesty': foreign media denied full access

Mauri Saalakhan, of the Peace & Justice Foundation, reports: What I witnessed in yesterday's proceeding was a TRAVESTY! Midway into the morning's proceedings, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was removed from the courtroom due to her inability to remain quiet while being assaulted from the witness stand by what she asserts are a battery of "lies."

Yesterday's real travesty, however, centered around the physical manipulation of the courtroom itself, and the shameful treatment accorded certain media representatives (esp. foreign media) who were denied the usual protocol normally afforded media personnel; simply because they failed to secure a special media pass during the pretrial hearings — a requirement they had no knowledge of.

Another appalling manipulation at yesterday's proceeding revolved around TWO OVERFLOW COURTROOMS PACKED WITH AAFIA SUPPORTERS and non-favored media reps (esp. Pakistani journalists), while EMPTY SEATS REMAINED IN THE MAIN COURTROOM! I was in one of the overflow courtrooms in the morning, and in the main courtroom in the afternoon. I noted that in the main courtroom the whole left side of the room had rows of empty seats marked "reserved," while folks outside the door were still being directed to one of the overflow courtrooms with the stated lie "There's no room left!"

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