US punishes Pakistan for jailing doctor
WASHINGTON - Reuters
Pakistani surgeon Shakeel Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison on charges of treason.U.S. senators scandalized by Pakistan’s jailing of a doctor for helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden voted on May 24 to cut aid to Islamabad by $33 million - one million for each year in the doctor’s sentence.
“It’s outrageous that they (the Pakistanis) would say a man who helped us find Osama bin Laden is a traitor,” said Senator Richard Durbin after the unanimous 30-0 vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Earlier in the week an appropriations subcommittee slashed aid to Islamabad and warned it would withhold more if Pakistan does not reopen supply routes for NATO soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan.
The Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, was sentenced to 33 years in jail on May 23 on charges of treason. He was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign, in which he collected DNA samples, that is believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track down bin Laden in a Pakistani town.
The al-Qaeda leader was killed in the town of Abbottabad a year ago in a unilateral U.S. special forces raid that heavily damaged ties between Islamabad and Washington.