Pressure Mounts on Pakistan Over Jailed Doctor

Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 12:36 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Pressure is mounting on Pakistan to release Shakil Afridi, a doctor who stepped forward to aid the United States in locating Osama bin Laden, an activist said Tuesday.

Robert Lorsch, CEO of the Free Afridi Campaign, said he recently met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who assured him the case against Afridi was under review.

"When I heard that the prime minister of Pakistan was visiting Washington last week, I contacted the Foreign Relations Committee through Rep. Ed Royce's office, who is chairman of the committee," Lorsch told "Fox & Friends."

Story continues below video.

"I asked for a meeting with the prime minister and his aides and his ministers so that I could express to them how concerned the American people were watching a man -- who actually was responsible for pinpointing the location of Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for killing 3,000 people in the 9/11 disaster -- and why this man is sitting in prison being tortured on a day-to-day basis," Lorsch said.

Afridi was instrumental in helping the United States locate bin Laden. He
remains jailed for "treasonous behavior," a charge being used as an excuse for "wrongful imprisonment," Lorsch said.

Sharif told Lorsch the prison sentence would be overturned and Afridi would be retried.

The sentence was overturned last Thursday, but Afridi remained in custody.

"The 'treasonous behavior' is their excuse for justifying what the government knows is really wrongful imprisonment," he said. "When I was sitting with the prime minister, he assured me that Shakil Afridi's 33-year prison sentence was being overturned, or had been overturned, and he was being retried on these trumped-up treason charges."

Sharif assured Royce, a California Republican, that it was a priority to get the retrial completed, Lorsch said.

"He assured Rep. Royce and myself, and, in fact, the entire Foreign Relations Committee, that that would be a major priority — to get that trial completed, so that Afridi could either be let free, or finish his sentence. And, we could put this chapter behind us."

A pardon for Afridi was discussed during the meeting, but, Lorsch explained, Sharif said a retrial would have to first be completed. Lorsch asked why Afridi had been held for three years.

"There was a conversation where the congressman discussed the possibility of a pardon," Lorsch said. "The prime minister said, well, in order to pardon somebody, they have to complete their trial. Which was very awkward, because they've held this man for three years."

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