24 Sep 2010

Lengthy prison term for Pakistani scientist in US

1:30 pm on 24 September 2010

A Pakistani scientist convicted of attempting to kill United States military personnel has been sentenced to 86 years in prison.

Aafia Siddiqui, 38, was being interrogated by US officials in Afghanistan when she grabbed a gun and opened fire, shouting "death to Americans".

Prosecutors in New York called her an al-Qaeda sympathiser and sought life imprisonment.

Her conviction in a federal court in February sparked protests in Pakistan.

The BBC reports the prosecutors used notes Siddiqui was carrying at the time of her arrest, which included references to constructing dirty bombs and a list of New York City landmarks, as evidence that she was a potentially dangerous terrorist.

She was also carrying sodium cyanide, a toxic substance.

Siddiqui is a neuroscientist who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before marrying a relative of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and returning to Pakistan.