The Pakistani doctor who reportedly helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden is on a hunger strike to protest mistreatment by officials of the prison where he is being held.
Relatives of Dr. Shakil Afridi told reporters that they have been denied access to Afridi since August of 2012. Afridi was arrested by Pakistani law enforcement for his alleged links to the CIA and was charged and punished under the Pakistani constitution and sentenced to prison for 33 years.
Afridi ran a vaccination program in that city that was allegedly just a front for a CIA operation to obtain a DNA sample that would verify bin Laden’s presence in the city. A senior CIA official told the New York Times that the effort ultimately was unsuccessful.
Although he was arrested for his alleged participation in the Osama bin Laden search operation, at his trial the government failed to prove his violation of the statute he was charged under, but on May 23, 2012, he was convicted nonetheless.
Additionally, the court that sentenced Afridi is only authorized to impose maximum sentences of three years, making the 33-year punishment given to Dr. Afridi illegal.
While the Obama administration has ignored Dr. Afridi’s case and refused to speak out against his harsh treatment, others in Washington are aware of the disgrace and have tried to right the wrong.
In August 2012, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sought to to stall the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to fill the post of U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. Paul wanted to stall the confirmation of the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan until that nation — which is deemed a U.S. ally in the War on Terror — released Dr. Afridi.
This was not Senator Paul’s first foray into the fight for the doctor’s freedom. In a conference call with reporters in July 2012, Paul reiterated his call to withhold aid to Pakistan pending Afridi’s release.
All of Senator Paul’s attempts to assist Dr. Afridi were futile and now the doctor is in poor health with little hope of relief — judicial or otherwise.
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