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Pak scientist found guilty of attempt to murder by US court

February 04, 2010 13:11 IST

Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui was on Wednesday found guilty of attempting to murder American soldiers in Afghanistan by a court in New York, according to a report in the Dawn.

The jury found Siddiqui guilty on seven charges, including attempt to murder and armed assault on US officers, but found her not guilty of a charge of pre-meditated murder.

Siddiqui, who will be sentenced on May 6, can be awarded a jail term of up to 35 years.

 "I know this is not the verdict of American people, I know where it is coming from," shouted Siddiqui after the jury left the room.

"This is a verdict from Israel, not America. Anger should be directed to where it belongs. I can testify to this. I have proof," CNN quoted her as saying.

Later, her attorney Elaine Sharp told the media that Siddiqui had appealed to the people of Pakistan to remain calm. Her trial had sparked massive anti-US protests in Pakistan.

Siddiqui's family in Pakistan slammed the US administration for convicting her. Dawn quoted her family members as saying, "Today's verdict is one of many legal errors that allowed the prosecution to build a case against our sister based on hate, rather than fact."

Siddiqui allegedly fired at two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a US army warrant officer, an army captain and military interpreters while she was being interrogated at an army base in Afghanistan on July 18, 2008. However, the shots didn't hit anyone and she was injured when the warrant officer fired back, prosecutors said.

Siddiqui, who had been on the FBI's terror radar due to her suspected links with the Al Qaeda, had been arrested a day earlier near the Ghazni governor's residence.

Several incrimination documents including bomb-making instructions, descriptions of American Landmarks and handwritten notes referring to a mass casualty attack were found on her, claimed prosecutors.

Siddiqui also possessed a computer thumb drive that contained correspondence referring to specific cells, attacks by cells, enemies, recruitment and training, CNN quoted an indictment on September 2008 as saying.

Siddiqui, a former student of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was extradited to the US in August 2008.