After two days of deliberations, a federal jury in New York found Aafia Siddiqui guilty of attempted murder today.
Siddiqui, better known as "lady al Qaida," was charged with attempted murder following an attack on American interrogators in Afghanistan. The Pakistani neuroscientist had been arrested in possession of bomb-making chemicals and a list of New York City landmarks. According to the six eyewitnesses presented by the prosecution, Siddiqui grabbed an Army rifle and opened fire on American and Afghan officers who were questioning her.
The trial itself was fraught with complications, at many times maintaining a circus-like atmosphere.
The New York Times reports that Siddiqui spoke up as jurors left the court room, holding her index finger in the air as she said "This is a verdict coming from Israel and not from America. That's where the anger belongs. I can testify to this, and I have proof."
During jury selection, Siddiqui refused to take part in the trial and demanded that all Jews be excluded from her jury. As she explained, "I have a feeling everyone here is them [Jews], subject to genetic testing and they should be excluded if you want to be fair." That was only the beginning of jury-related issues.
Midway through the trial, two jurors were excused after they told the judge that a man in the visitor's gallery made a hand motion as if he were firing a gun at them and mouthed an obscenity. One of the jurors told the judge he was "really freaked out" by the incident and another said he could not remain impartial "anything anyone makes what I view as a death threat."
The guilty verdict on all counts means that at sentencing the judge could order Siddiqui spend the rest of her life in a federal prison. The U.S. Attorney's news release on the verdict can be seen here.