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Trials in Post-9/11 Era: Elizabeth Holmes Versus Aafia Siddiqui

In case you missed it, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder, and CEO of Theranos, a now-defunct health technology company, is currently on trial and will be facing a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty. 

Holmes is accused of allegedly deceiving doctors, investors, and patients from 2010 till 2016, tallying up a total of 12 charges of fraud: 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud — all of which she pleaded not guilty to.

Holmes’s trial’s started a few months ago, on August 31, with a 12-person jury slated to hear witness testimony until mid-December. 

Meanwhile, Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, is currently serving an 86-year sentence at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas for “the attempted murder and assault of U.S. nationals and U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan.” And, likewise, she pleaded not guilty to these charges.

It’s heartbreaking to carry on seeing political leaders in the west talking the talk of how they support diversity and inclusion; but when it comes to walking the walk, they act as if they weren’t made aware of the situation.

However, the sentence took effect despite the forensic report at Ghazni police station that ruled out the possibility of firing an M4 rifle on the walls, dismissing the fact that Siddiqui was the one injured by one of these bullets.

The Privilege is evident in the Elizabeth Holmes Trial

On September 29, Holmes’ 12th day of trial, juror No. 4 told U.S. District Judge Edward Davila that she wouldn’t have the heart to vote for Holmes’ sentence if she was found guilty.

“I am a Buddhist, and so I practice for compassion, you know, for loving and forgiveness,” she said. “It’s really hard for me…if I’m not to vote, I’ll be OK.”

Even so, the alternate juror got concerned about Holmes and what her future might hold for her if she was found guilty.

“She’s so young,” she said. “It’s my first time in this situation, and it’s her future. I don’t know if I’m 100 percent ready to participate in something like this.”

Discrimination in Aafia Siddiqui’s Trial

As for Siddiqui’s case, there was not an ounce of sympathy toward her — which was evident specifically when the U.S. government accused Siddiqui of faking her mental illness just to avoid the trial when, in fact, the detailed medical reports stated that Siddiqui’s behavior and mental condition were different from those who’d actually pretend.

It’s 2021, and we’re still lamenting white supremacy; we’re still denouncing the discrimination that a brown Muslim hijabi woman has to face in the west; we’re still decrying the same post-9/11 issues that came in the aftermath of the alleged war on terror over and over again.

It raises some serious red flags when a juror refuses to vote just because being 37-years-old makes Holmes “so young” when Siddiqui, too, was on trial at the age of 37.

It’s heartbreaking to carry on seeing political leaders in the west talking the talk of how they support diversity and inclusion; but when it comes to walking the walk, they act as if they weren’t made aware of the situation. 

It’s as if there’ll never be true inclusion for Muslims in the west; as there’ll always find some way or another through which they can inferiorize the Muslim community from all over the world. They’ll always come up with something to attempt to unjustly marginalize us, polarize us, criminalize us, stigmatize us, and silence us collectively. 

In fact, the mainstream media gives Holmes the benefit of doubt because of her educational background, and they essentially try to come up with excuses for her fraud allegations by calling it for example a “gamble on technology.”

“She was raised in a comfortably well-off family in Washington DC, and was a polite but withdrawn child, according to people who knew her,” BBC reported. “It is still unclear why Ms. Holmes took such a gamble on technology she knew didn’t work.”

But when it came to Siddiqui, everyone started calling her a terrorist when the court didn’t charge her with terrorism allegations. What’s more, Holmes’ trial was delayed three times.

The first time was so that they could give the defense “more time to prepare.” The second time was because of COVID-19. And, it was postponed this March, so that Holmes could have time to give birth to her first child — none of which we’d seen happening in Siddiqui’s case.

In May 2020, Siddiqui’s sister, Fowzia, appealed to the Sindh High Court (SHC) because Siddiqui was at risk of contacting the coronavirus. And, at that time one of her prison inmates died of it, whereas, 131 others were infected with it. 

In essence, the thing that we’d normally expect from the same government, which took protective measures and delayed Holmes’ trials because of COVID-19, would be taking Siddiqui’s case seriously — which never happened.

The Express Tribune reported that Fowzia said that the federal government “was not interested in the case and refused to sincerely take up the matter.” 

It raises some serious red flags when a juror refuses to vote just because being 37-years-old makes Holmes so young when Siddiqui, too, was on trial at the age of 37.

It’s monstrous and essentially dehumanizing what they did, especially when you find that the trial went on even though Siddiqui was unconscious in court and even though her medical report stated that her condition made her ineligible to participate.

What we’re witnessing today is essentially how the post-9/11 era and the war on terror scheme have insinuated, if not explicitly denoted, the idea that a brown Muslim hijabi with such an intersectional identity will never stand a chance to be treated the way a human being deserves to be treated.

And because this is a world that still glorifies white supremacy, we’re still stuck, and we’re still talking about how everyone deserves to be treated just as a person, who’s up there in the hierarchy, would be treated.

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