IAC Condemns US Visa Denial to Humanitarian Speaker

The International Action Center is speaking out against the US government for allegedly refusing to allow a woman on a humanitarian international speaking tour to set foot in this country. I’ll run the entire article at the bottom — her name is linked to a piece by PBS’ “Frontline” that is a fascinating profile — but you should get to know the story of Amna Masood Janjua:

Amina Masood Janjua

Amna Masood Janjua wanted to talk about Pakistan's "disappeared" in the US, but Homeland Security said no.

The International Action Center condemns the U.S. silencing of Mrs. Masood, [who works to find the] “disappeared” of Pakistan. The United States Department of Homeland Security has cowardly revoked the travel visa for Amna Masood Janjua. She was prevented from traveling to the US to meet with human rights organizations and members of Congress by US agents who boarded the plane she was on, forcing her off. Mrs. Janjua had completed a European speaking tour, in defense of the hundreds of disappeared and illegally rendered Pakistanis, among them her husband, Masood Janjua. Mrs. Janjua was working with Amnesty International, which can hardly be called a “terrorist” group.

Mrs. Janjua is a mother of three children whose husband disappeared in 2005. She has heard nothing about him since he was seized. Mrs. Janjua slowly discovered the names and circumstances of 600 other people that the Pakistani government handed over to the FBI and the CIA. Along with Amnesty International and a host of other human rights organizations in Pakistan, Mrs. Janjua reasoned that people of the West deserved to learn about the kidnapping, torture and possible assassination of these individuals in Pakistan. But the U.S. government has illicitly arrogated to itself the right to jurisdictional extraterritoriality in collaboration with dictatorships, such as that of former Dictator Pervez Mushareff. And apparently, the U.S. government does not want the citizens of this country to learn of these truths.

So to prevent the people of the United States from learning about this situation, they denied Mrs. Janjua the right to travel here.

This grave injustice compounds the crisis of the disappeared people of Pakistan, one of whom is incarcerated right here in New York. Dr. Afia Sidiqqi [linked update from Pakistan’s The Nation]. Dr Sidiqqi is a 36 year old Pakistani national is a graduate of MIT and holds a PhD in neuroscience from Brandeis University. On a visit home to Karachi in 2003 she was disappeared along with her three children. Her family believes the U.S. government captured, tortured, and incarcerated her. The U.S. government claims she is an al Qaida terrorist. Federal officials deny knowledge of her whereabouts for the last five years. But she was shot by U.S. troops in Afghanistan in July and was remanded to the United States where she now languishes alone and in agony in a federal prison in New York. Many human rights activists have rallied in solidarity and support of Dr Afia Sidiqqi on days that she was scheduled to be in court. Dr Sidiqqi needs emergency medical care, information on her children and the right to meet with her lawyers.

The International Action Center condemns the cruelty, hypocrisy and cowardice of the United States government who would torture a woman and label her a terrorist, on the one hand, and deny a mother and spouse the right to come to the United States to plea for the release and freedom of her husband on the other.

When a government is afraid of the words of a grieving wife, when a government can kidnap and torture women with impunity, that state can be said to be without ethics or justice.

Here’s the link to the IAC.

Human Rights Watch is working hard in an attempt to have Mrs. Janjua’s visa denial revoked.

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