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Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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Pakistan trying hard to bring scientist home

Pakistan said yesterday it would leave "no stone unturned" in trying to bring home a woman scientist sentenced to 86 years in jail by a US court.

A New York court Thursday found Aafia Siddiqui, a once brilliant scientist dubbed "Lady Qaeda" by US tabloids, guilty of the attempted murder of US military officers in Afghanistan in 2008 -- five years after she disappeared.

"We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to bring her back. We are following both legal and political approaches to get her back," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a news conference.

He added that the government was concerned about the 38-year old neuroscientist's mental and physical condition and was considering appealing on behalf of Siddiqui's mother and sister to President Barack Obama to pardon her.

"We are concerned about Dr Siddiqui's living conditions and we would like her not to be transferred to the federal prison," he said.

"We are writing a letter to the US authorities to know about her health and mental condition."

The case of Siddiqui, a mother of three who trained at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University, has been condemned across the nuclear-armed Muslim nation of 167 million.

Thousands of people staged protest rallies across the country on Friday demanding her release. The protesters chanted anti-US slogans and burned US flags and effigies of President Barack Obama.

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