A Pakistani neuroscientist who trained at an elite American university has been found guilty on two charges of attempted murder for trying to kill US agents in Afghanistan in 2008. “The conviction, which could see Aafia Siddiqui sentenced to life in prison, is the latest chapter in a life story that has baffled observers and divided legal opinion. The scientist has been accused of being an al-Qaida sympathiser, but has claimed that she was kidnapped and held in secret detention by the US for five years before her arrest. She was never charged with terrorism, but prosecutors called her a grave threat who was carrying ‘a road map for destruction’ bomb-making instructions and a list of New York City landmarks when she was captured. As jurors left the courtroom following her conviction, Siddiqui raised her arm and shouted: ‘This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America.’ Then she turned to the public benches and said: ‘Your anger should be directed where it belongs. I can testify to this and I have proof.’ Her lawyer, Elaine Sharp, said: ‘This verdict is based on fear, not on fact.’”
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On New Year’s Eve 1899, the captain of this Pacific steamliner sailed into history. Or did he?