‘Pakistani woman detained at Bagram airbase’
* British journalist Yvonne Ridley says woman being held in solitary confinement for 4 years
By Muhammad Bilal
ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani woman has spent the last four years, and remains to this day, in solitary confinement at the United-States run Bagram airbase detention facility in Afghanistan, British journalist and peace activist Yvonne Ridley told reporters on Sunday.
“Today I am crying out for help, not for myself but for a Pakistani woman neither you nor I have ever met. She has been held in isolation by the Americans in Afghanistan and she needs help,” Ridley said.
Ridley said she first learnt about the woman while reading a book by Guantanamo ex-detainee Moazzam Begg. Ridley added that one of the four Arabs who escaped from the Bagram cell in July 2005 also told a television channel that he had heard a woman’s cries and screams in the prison but never saw her. “I call her the Grey Lady of Bagram because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her,” she said.
The woman is registered as Prisoner number 650 and the US officials can’t deny the fact, Ridley said. “I demand that the US military free the Grey Lady immediately. We don’t know her identity, we don’t know her state of mind and we don’t know the extent of the abuse or torture she has been subjected to,” Ridley said.
This would never happen to a Western woman, she added.
Taliban captured Ridley in September 2001 for entering Afghanistan without legal documents. Ridley was freed after 11-day detention and later embraced Islam in June 2003. Pakstan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan was also present at the occasion. Khan demanded the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government ask the US to provide details of the woman.
The woman could be Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was picked from a Pakistani airport few years back, Khan said, adding that keeping any one in illegal detention was violation of human rights.
The Foreign Office denied knowledge of the alleged detention of a Pakistani woman, ARY TV reported.
FO spokesman said the allegation would be looked into.