Son of Terror Suspect Released to Family in Pakistan
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The 12-year-old son of a woman suspected of links to Al Qaeda and facing charges in New York was freed yesterday by Afghanistan and sent to his family in Pakistan, two months after he was detained with his mother.
Officials say the boy, Ali Hassan, and his mother, Aafia Siddiqui, were detained outside the governor’s house in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province in July. The American-educated Pakistani woman was then handed over to U.S. custody and flown to New York where she was accused of trying to kill American personnel.
The indictment alleges that during Ms. Siddiqui’s interrogation in Ghazni, the 36-year-old picked up a soldier’s rifle, announced her “desire to kill Americans” and fired at American soldiers and FBI agents. She was wounded by return fire.
American prosecutors say that when taken into custody in Afghanistan, she was carrying handwritten notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” and listing the Empire State Building and other New York landmarks. However, the indictment contains no charges of terrorism.
Ali was with his mother at the time of her arrest and had been in Afghan custody ever since, officials said.
A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry, Sultan Ahmed Baheen, said Ali had spent the previous 10 days in a “guest house” of Afghanistan’s intelligence service. Before that, he was in the custody of a prosecutor who deals with minors, the ministry said.
Mr. Baheen said Ali is a dual American-Pakistani citizen because he was born in America.
Elaine Whitfield Sharp, who represents the family of Aafia Siddiqui, said the boy’s release was “wonderful news.”