'Angry' U.S. to press Pak to overturn CIA-helping doc's 33-yr 'high treason' sentence
London, May 24 (ANI): The U.S. has said it will press for the release of a Pakistani doctor who has been sentenced for 33 years for running a fake CIA vaccination programme as part of the hunt for Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.
The U.S. state department said there is "no basis" for the arrest and detention of Dr Shakil Afridi, the former surgeon-general of Khyber, who was convicted of treason over the scheme to identify Bin Laden through DNA, reports The Guardian.
"We continue to see no basis for these charges, for him being held, for any of it. We will continue to make representations," State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, was quoted, as saying.
Obama administration officials are angered by Afridi's arrest and trial, which is further evidence of the sharp deterioration in relations with Pakistan, the paper states.
Two U.S. senators, John McCain and Carl Levin, also denounced Afridi's conviction and demanded his immediate release.
"Afridi's actions were completely consistent with the multiple, legally-binding resolutions passed over many years by the United Nations Security Council, which required member states to assist in bringing Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network to justice," the two senior senators said in a joint statement.
"Afridi set an example that we wish others in Pakistan had followed long ago. He should be praised and rewarded for his actions, not punished and slandered," they added.
"Afridi's continuing imprisonment and treatment as a criminal will only do further harm to US-Pakistani relations, including diminishing Congress's willingness to provide financial assistance to Pakistan," they further said.
The sentence was announced just days after Barack Obama snubbed Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, by refusing to hold a formal meeting with him at the NATO Summit in Chicago. (ANI)
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