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U.S. senators plotting moves to 'force' Pak to free jailed 'Osama doc' Afridi

June 26, 2012 - Islamabad

Two U.S. lawmakers, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, plan to press Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman this week for the release of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi who was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment after he helped the CIA track down Osama Bin Laden.

Paul had sponsored an amendment earlier this month to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act to withhold U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan until Dr Afridi's prison sentence is overturned and he is allowed to leave Pakistan. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, however, blocked a vote on the proposal, reports The Dawn.

But Paul claims that he now has enough backing from fellow senators to force a vote, which he said he intends to do in July, unless Afridi is released.

"I have a lot of sympathy for him and for his bravery," said Paul, an eye surgeon.

Paul said he finds it "troubling that this man, who is a hero and should be praised and congratulated and rewarded, has been put in prison".


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