The US Second Circuit Court of appeals has rejected Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s appeal against her sentence thus denying her justice. She is currently serving 86-year jail term for allegedly shooting at American interrogators in Afghanistan. While no US soldier or interrogator was hit or injured, Aafia received bullet injuries. The strongest point that her state-appointed lawyer, Dawn Cardi argued was that in view of Aafia’s mental state, she should not have been forced to testify before the trial court headed by District Judge Richard Berman in September 2010. Pakistan government, political and religious parties and renowned human rights organizations protested the conviction. A study of even the basic facts of the case show that Aafia’s mental condition is not stable. A brilliant woman, who has lived through extraordinary experiences, no matter whose side of the story is believed - it is sad to see her languish in prison, when it is obvious that she is no longer capable of even protecting and looking after herself, let alone acting with the intent to harm.

While the legal technicalities of the case appear to have been defeated, the Pakistani government has recourse to Aafia through diplomatic access channels, via its embassy in Washington. An effort should be made to return Aafia to her family, on sympathetic grounds. A brilliant woman, now permanently altered, Aafia’s murky history will remain an unanswered question in the history books. The most that can be done after her conviction, is to request her to be retired home, where she can be monitored by the state, in the care of her family. The grey lady of Bagram should be allowed to live out the rest of her days with her family.