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Pakistani charged in attack on agents

WASHINGTON — A U.S.-educated Pakistani woman suspected of links to al-Qaida appeared in federal court in New York on Tuesday on charges of attempting to kill American military officers and FBI agents in Afghanistan last month.

Aafia Siddiqui, 36, a neuroscientist with degrees from MIT and Brandeis University, was flown to New York on Monday, a little more than two weeks after she was shot and wounded while allegedly trying to open fire on a group of Americans who had come to question her in a police station in Afghanistan.

A lawyer for Siddiqui, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, said Siddiqui is "not a terrorist" and has done nothing wrong.

Siddiqui's family has charged that U.S. authorities secretly detained her in Afghanistan after she disappeared in Pakistan in March 2003 with her three children. The U.S. government says it had no knowledge of her whereabouts until she was arrested in Ghazni.

Siddiqui made her initial appearance Tuesday before a federal magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and was detained. A bail hearing was set for Monday.

Siddiqui's name reportedly came up during interrogations of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In 2004, the FBI described Siddiqui as "an al-Qaida operative and facilitator" who was among seven people being sought in connection with potential terrorist attacks in the United States.

If convicted, Siddiqui faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge, the Justice Department said.

Gitmo jury adjourns: A military jury deliberated a second day without a verdict Tuesday in the case of Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, accused of 10 counts of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

Pakistani charged in attack on agents 08/05/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 10:24am]
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